Research Output

Tuning into tensions in times of change – the experiences of managers in the contract catering sector.

  The purpose of this paper is to present case study evidence of how managers in a contract catering firm made sense of an organisational change initiative that encouraged them to become self-sufficient and display "entrepreneurial" behaviours in an environment where they were also expected to "comply" with new operating procedures aimed at strengthening central control. Design/methodology/approach - Uses 25 in-depth interviews with a cross-section of line and HR managers over an 11-month period to uncover practical experiences of change and their attempts to constructively manage the tensions between the opposing dualities that arise from it. The paper draws on empirical research from an in-depth case study of a leading multinational corporation in the contract catering sector. Findings - the findings expose the pressures that managers faced in the reconciliation of the contrasting need to develop as entrepreneurs alongside an organisational strategy driven by cost minimisation and control. It provides an empirical example of the duality that exists in organisations between the quantitative need for discipline in managerial procedures at the same time as the organisation has to pay attention to the qualitative need for investment in human resources. Originality/value - This paper provides insights to a relatively under-researched yet significant sector of the hospitality industry - contract catering. It provides a vivid empirical account of the tensions that managers face in times of change and a practical illustration of the creative ways that managers found to deal with the contradictions arising from the change initiative.

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  • Date:

    01 January 2005

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  • Publisher


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  • Library of Congress:

    HD28 Management. Industrial Management


D'Annunzio-Green, N. & Francis, H. (2005). Tuning into tensions in times of change – the experiences of managers in the contract catering sector. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 17, 345-358. doi:10.1108/09596110510597606. ISSN 0959-6119



human resource management; organizational change; catering industry; service industries; entrepreneurialism

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