Managers as change agents: implications for human resource managers engaging with culture change

Document Type

Journal Article


Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Business / Centre for Innovative Practice




Barratt-Pugh, L. G., Bahn, S. T., & Gakere, E. N. (2013). Managers as change agents: implications for human resource managers engaging with culture change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 26(4), 748-764. Available here


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the merger of two large State departments and the cultural change program orchestrated by the Human Resources (HR) department. This study reveals the instrumental role played by some managers who accelerated the cultural change process through utilising formal and informal agencies of change in their management roles. Design/methodology/approach: The paper explores a two-year investigation of a major State organisation trying to reshape the culture and values of the organisation after a politically determined merger. This paper reviews the context for this change process, the associated concepts from the literature, and adapts Gidden's Structuration Theory to provide a model of manager action during the change process that may also be used to explore subsequent change practices. Findings: The findings from the sequenced phases of data collection provide new evidence from a strategic HR perspective of the multiple ways managers act to embed a culture change for the emerging organisation. Practical implications: The subsequent discussion centres on the diverse roles played by managers in the new disjointed and often dysfunctional culture to develop unified cultural change with their staff, with the change process being modelled in terms of Structuration Theory. Originality/value: The paper uses the findings from an empirical study to indicate the agencies of change that managers can employ during organisational change processes. By doing so it provides both a pragmatic model for managers of change and through the typology of manager agencies of change makes an addition to the existing theoretical frameworks of change management.