Grief and the Psychological Transition Process Among Information Technology Team Members

Grief and the Psychological Transition Process Among Information Technology Team Members

Letitia Larry (LCDC, LLC, USA & Business Intelligence, Inc., USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2235-6.ch001
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Information technology (IT) employees are responsible for planning, implementing, and supporting new solutions and services in support of enterprise shifts to accommodate new methods and modes of doing business and/or providing products, solutions, and services to internal users, external customers, and partners. But IT workers do not always have a say or input into the choices made by leadership and business managers as it applies to new technologies. This can lead to rework and failure upon initial deployment. In addition, change without inclusion of those responsible may have a negative impact on IT staff and the outcome of the overall change effort. In this chapter, the author explores the experience of personal transition and the impact of organizational change on those responsible, IT workers.
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The purpose of the research was to further understanding of the transition process—inherent to change events—as it related to the experiences of individuals within IT teams under study, taking into account the dynamics of change efforts (implementation and support activities) which included working with people, processes, and systems. The point is that change events occurring within technology-driven organizations position IT workers at the nexus of dealing with both people and systems in order to facilitate the mandated change and move the organization forward. Thus, handling multiple areas of technological concern and interacting with a variety of people intensifies the demands with which members of IT teams are faced when implementing and supporting change. It was the aim of this study to provide an opening into the lived experiences of IT team members who spoke to their encounters with change, the psychological transition processes, and their understandings of these dynamics in their professional lives. The team dynamic provided context to the individual experiences of transition as it related to the higher-level psychological process as posited by Bridges, and the individual feelings associated with transition as put forward by Kübler-Ross.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Technology: The study, design, development, implementation, support, and management of computer-based knowledge; the application of computers to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise ( Leavitt & Whisler, 1958 , p. 34).

Grief Construct: A normative way, or means, of mourning/transitioning; the feelings associated with the transition process ( Kübler-Ross, 1969 , p. 59).

A priori Emotion Coding: Relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge that proceeds from theoretical deduction of feelings or mood in qualitative studies ( Saldaña, 2015 , pp. 45-182).

Planned Change: Initiatives driven from the top down (Lippitt, Watson, & Westley, 1958 AU52: The in-text citation "Lippitt, Watson, & Westley, 1958" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. , p. 2).

Transition: A three-phased process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation that a change brings about ( Bridges, 2010 , p. 4).

Trough of Disillusionment: Experience of excitement or anticipation prior to the start of a change initiative and then a change in feelings as change begins ( Fenn & Raskino, 2008 , p. 104).

Organizational Change: When a company or organization is going through a transformation, organizational change occurs when business strategies or major sections of an organization are altered ( Bennis, 1966 , p. 23). Also known as reorganization, restructuring and turnaround (Burke, 2002, pp. 1, 20-22 AU51: The in-text citation "Burke, 2002, pp. 1, 20-22" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Health Information Technology: The application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making; a sub-grouping of IT ( Brailer & Thompson, 2004 , p. 46).

Hype Cycle: When a new innovation is introduced, excitement builds and organizations jump on the bandwagon to incorporate new technologies, thus causing the change acceptance curve to slope up ( Fenn & Raskino, 2008 , pp. 103-104).

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