Employee surveys - Strategic aid or hand-grenade for organisational and cultural change?

Hartley, Jean (2001). Employee surveys - Strategic aid or hand-grenade for organisational and cultural change? International Journal of Public Sector Management, 14(3) pp. 184–204.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/09513550110390846

Abstract

Employee surveys are becoming increasingly widespread among both public and private sector organisations. Yet, while there are many articles and books on the technical aspects of how to carry out an employee survey there is much less contemporary information about the impact of employee surveys on the organisation? This paper examines why local authorities undertake employee surveys and the extent to which these contribute to strategic change. The research is based on a review of the use of employee surveys by 12 organisations using surveys at the corporate level. The research found that surveys are used for a variety of purposes to influence change. Purposes are primarily either concerned with organisational assessment (as a diagnostic prior to change) or to implement organisational changes. These results suggest that employee surveys are both mirrors and makers of organisational change. The paper concludes with some theoretical, methodological and ethical implications for academic researchers in the ways that they use and report surveys.

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