Drawing the boundaries

In the second stage, managers introduce additional discipline and stricter measures to control the work force. Employees amend their working practises, to assimilate the changes and explore ways to resist them.

This includes employees not turning up for work and in general an informalisation of procedures:
‘Staff [at Eden] attempts to make work arrangements less strict and to erase job boundaries’ (1.2.5).
‘Jobs [at Longhurst] are given out verbally to a team of members within the ICT Department. This is more of an informal kind of arrangement as opposed to laid-down policies and procedures’ (1.2.1).

At Eden and Longhurst, staff start to devise their own ways of conducting daily operations. Prospects’ staff at Lincoln change working practises at odds with their London counterparts. These changes are the opposite of what managers aim to introduce. The latter gradually become aware of the resistance to their new 'ways of doing things' (Schein 1985: 17; Lundy and Cowling 1996). At Laurens staff cite ‘big [employee] turnover figures’ (3.16.2) and managers ‘trudging on’ (3.17.2) as if to suggest they are ‘not bothered’ (3.18.2) with longer-term development. Individual departments start to develop alternative communication channels to deal with the challenges, which in some cases, result in additional acts of resistances, such as 'culture jamming' (Eco 1976; Dery 1993) and taking extended breaks.

Managers respond by openly, consciously manifesting what employees consider improper emotional outbursts (Fineman 2000; Wilson 1999). They do not help in an already tense environment and promote de-motivation of employees who: ‘don’t want to work here [at Laurens]’ (3.16.2). They may be due to excessive pressure from senior managers (Fineman 2000, 2003: 218; Bauman and Vecchi 2004). This replicates emotional spillage on employees further down the hierarchy, further de-motivating already repressed employees.

The immigration of relatively large groups of predominantly Eastern Europeans at Laurens introduces a heightened awareness of (sub)-cultural and group values at Laurens, as well as tendencies to conserve these.