Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Greg Banks

Abstract

The high failure rates of change initiatives threaten the sustainability of commercial printing operations. The focus of this qualitative multicase study was to research the strategies commercial printing managers use to succeed in gaining frontline employee buy-in during change initiatives to improve productivity and profitability in a manufacturing environment. The participants included four commercial printing managers from the Midwestern United States. Each manager had implemented successful change initiatives in the past 2 years and maintained profitability of the business for 12 months before the study. McGregor's (1960) Theory Y served as the basis for the conceptual framework. Data collection included semistructured face-to-face interviews with managers, a review of company documents, and observations. Descriptive coding and sequential review of the interview transcripts using a modified Van Kaam thematic data analysis process revealed five themes: (a) constructive communication, (b) leadership behaviors, (c) performance management, (d) employee management, and (e) employee motivation. Recommendations for action include further research on using constructive communication tactics and identifying stimuli of employee resistance to buy in to change initiatives. Commercial printing managers may apply these results to engage frontline employees in participating in the implementation of change initiatives that improve productivity and profitability. Implications for social change include the increased potential of improving the success of commercial printing managers in implementing change initiatives that positively impact employment and economic health within communities.