From Feeding-Back to Feeding-Forward: Managerial Feedback as a Trigger of Change in SMEs

Psychogios, Alexandros and Blackori, Feim and Szamosi, Leslie Thomas and O'Regan, Nicholas (2018) From Feeding-Back to Feeding-Forward: Managerial Feedback as a Trigger of Change in SMEs. Journal of Small Business & Enterprise Development. ISSN 1462-6004 (In Press)

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Abstract

Purpose - This study seeks to explore and theorize the process of managerial feedback in relation to change in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Design/Methodology/Approach - This research embraces a qualitative methodology in the context of manufacturing SMEs. Drawing on 30 in-depth interviews and observations, conducted with various managers in six (6) SMEs operating in three countries, it is argued that managers benefit more by using daily on-going feedback as a trigger of change in their organizations.

Findings - The findings suggest that there is an overall view that managers appear to be reluctant to change existing processes using formalized feedback mechanisms, which runs counter-intuitive to the literature. In contrast, informal methods of feedback work better in enhancing organizational change. Moreover, another two features of feedback enhance this process namely, benefits-oriented and confidence-oriented. As such, this study contributes to existing knowledge and practice by proposing a three-fold form of feedback through which managers expand their perspectives of feedback from feeding-back to feeding-forward thereby enhancing the opportunities of triggering change.

Theoretical implications - Feedback should be considered as a dynamic and socially constructed managerial practice, a practice whereby relevant actors, not only exchange information and share knowledge, but also act, react and interact with each other as they constantly rethink the change process. The proposed aspect of feedback emphasizes knowledge therapeutically and in combination with the dialogical discourse (practical illustration) that increases the odds for capturing change as a natural, rather than exceptional, process.

Practical implications - Practitioners, as such, may wish to consider the terminology used when it comes to studying change and its implementation in a crisis context. Using deformalized managerial feedback mechanisms to tackle a formal phenomenon like ‘change’ could help avoid employees perceiving a negative connotation, even causing resistance or confusion and feeling threatened. Therefore, we suggest that practitioners, during development initiatives on modernising or altering organizational processes, consider using the term ‘change’ as an informal rather than a formal concept.

Originality - It is an investigation from an exploratory perspective in studying and understanding the causes, factors and modalities that trigger managerial feedback towards organizational change in manufacturing SMEs.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Feedback, Change, Stability, SMEs, Managers
Subjects: N100 Business studies
N200 Management studies
N600 Human Resource Management
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > Birmingham City Business School > Dept. Management, HR and Enterprise
Depositing User: Alexandros Psychogios
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2018 07:34
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2018 07:56
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6054

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