Managing disruption :an autoethnography of a middle-manager.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The thesis describes and reflects on a middle-manager’s experience of a market-led economic based restructuring project in a New Zealand public sector organisation. The thesis takes the form of an autoethnography, a reflexive account of the writer’s personal experience while acting in a professional capacity. The use of autoethnography as a research social science methodology has been subject to criticisms relating validity and relevance. However, the value of this methodology is the potential to ‘situate’ the reader inside the events, providing a rich understanding of the lived experience of the emergence of a restructured organisation. The thesis shows how a hierarchical organisation, celebrating the primacy of management and the financialization of all transactions, required middle-managers to put aside their professional / vocational commitments to work and enter into and endorse fealty / loyalty relationships with senior executives. It shows how both the language and silences of organisational change served to rationalise a new ‘ordering’ of the ‘moral mazes’ of the organisation that not only demanded commitment be demonstrated through loyalty, but also positioned middle-managers, who were rendered as insecure as their colleagues / team members, as the mediators / controllers of the restructure project. The thesis argues that the negative affect exhibited by team members involved in the restructuring project was a direct consequence of the intervention methodology and communication style deployed by senior management.