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A Qualitative Study of the Experience of Individuals within Information Technology Teams during Transition Using the Kübler-Ross Grief Construct and the Bridges Transition Model Open Access

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AbstractA Qualitative Study of the Experience of Individuals within Information Technology Teams during Transition Using the Kübler-Ross Grief Construct and the Bridges Transition Model This study explored the experience of transition for eight information technology staff in response to enterprise change using the grief construct (Bridges, 2004, 2010, 2013; Goodman & Loh, 2011; Kearney, 2003; Kearney & Hyle, 2003, 2004; Kübler-Ross, 1969; McDonagh & Coghlan, 2006), most notably associated in its original context with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1969) and her work with people facing death. Across the span of human existence – whether talking about human mortality or shifting business models and technological systems, change is an ongoing, never-ending process (McDonough & Coghlan, 2006). Along with change comes transition, which can be understood as the psychological component of change that occurs with, during, and after the change event (Bridges, 2010). As the field of information technology has evolved as a discipline and tool, there have been corresponding changes to business, processes, practice, policy, and the roles and responsibilities of those who implement and support the actual change (Goodman & Loh, 2011). While change theory has traditionally concentrated on the impact that a change event exerts on an enterprise and the success or failure of the change event itself, it has not focused on the people who are responsible for the change. This misplaced, one-dimensional, focus has impacted stakeholders’ acceptance of change as well as the success or failure of the intended change. On this point, and according to Bridges (2010), the psychological transition process is the most important factor in achieving successful change for the organization and its workforce. In this study, the researcher examined the human component of change, emphasizing the dynamics of the transition process on eight selected subjects working within an information technology environment. This qualitative study was used to provide insights and understandings to the following research question: How are the phases of transition experienced by individuals within information technology teams during a major change effort? The researcher used the Kübler-Ross grief construct (denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) as the theoretical lens through which to investigate the transition process in action.

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