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Buss, RJ 2009, 'Relationship capital and the dark side of change management', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright RJ Buss 2009


This study examines the issues of leadership, relationship capital and the dark side of change management in a public sector organisation undergoing a statewide restructure. Following the announcement of the restructure the area organisation for which I work undertook a change management process in order to comply with the outcomes set as part of the restructure. In this research, the leaders and staff are observed and interviewed in order to examine their responses and behaviours in a change management process. The methodology used is a qualitative methodology that uses action research cycles to observe and measure the reactions and behaviours of people at different points within the change management process. The study found that the relationships people have in a work setting are important in the process of change and that people use these relationships, psychological contracts and the ‘small world’ phenomenon during the change process in order to attempt to minimise the impact of the changes upon themselves and their work setting. The study also observes, and the participants articulated, the dark side of change management – that is, behaviours and thoughts towards the process of change and to other people that are not interpreted as optimal behaviour in a change management process. This dark side is a strong determining factor in the rationale for the acceptance of change by the staff and a strong characteristic in the leaders interviewed. Overall, the study is a journey which explores the stages and behaviours of participants during a change management process. It highlights the resistance to change that individuals have and the processes that they will undertake in order to minimise the impact of the change process upon themselves and their place of work.

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