Exploring employee wellbeing and employee motivation after a company takeover

Published: 2020/09/09 Number of words: 2270




The findings of this research are based on the mixed methods employed for the studies. The research tends to use a mixture of both a quantitative and qualitative approach. The conceptual framework captures the important questions which this study is based on. Employee wellbeing, the psychological climate and employee motivation are achieved in this research work. It is important to bear in mind that the work tends to evaluate the premise concretely for this dichotomy mentioned above. The research questions are three in number, but are further broken down to know the exact reaction of the cohort.


Based on the findings from the questionnaire, out of a sum of fifty-seven questionnaires administered to the group, a higher percentage/number of people within the cohort believed that their happiness level had been reduced and this could affect employee well-being. The data obtained from the questionnaire provide some clear indication as to creativity, reward, dignity and knowledge. Most of the employees within the study believe that their career ambitions have not improved since the takeover by SportsDirect and there could be a logical and rational explanation for that. It is apparently known that SportsDirect is a large organisation, and there is a possibility of competition forces within such companies. This could make employees of a takeover firm anxious and scared. Further, a part of the questionnaire tends to capture job security and a higher number of people that answered the question believed that their job was not secure anymore, which could be a part of cut cost adjustment in other to induce the profit maximisation which occurs in such scenarios. Notwithstanding, some within the cohort believed that they have had career progression and are not scared of job security. However, the percentage of people of this notion was so small that someone could deduce that they could have been top managers within the firm.


The findings from the questionnaire suggest that the psychological climate of employees has been on the decline since the takeover by SportsDirect. A vast number of respondents felt as if they had lost their sense of purpose in the organisation. One vital thing to consider when looking at the psychological climate of employees is to know how best to motivate them in a takeover; either to remain normality i.e. let things remain the way they were, or to use inductive cooperative incentives that encourage employees. According to the conceptual framework above, the psychological climate of employees is caused by trust issues from senior managers, job losses, the clash of organisational cultures, psychological contracts, rumour and secrecy of senior managers. It is critical that these issues are addressed carefully. However, the majority of the respondents believe that their workload was very manageable, which highlights one of the positive elements of a takeover; which is efficiency. The idea that takeover can induce corporate efficiency has been discussed by researchers over the years, although it does not mean that this will happen in all cases. The respondents felt that the communication during the process had not been well handled or adequate. This could be a result of normality in work ethics and the fact that respondents may not have been used to what is the new normal.


Most employees of newly taken-over firms tend to take time to adjust to a new environment and some have a reluctant syndrome. Many of the respondents within this questionnaire feel that communication in work process has not been good enough, while roughly a handful disagree with this statement. The respondents also believe that the planning that went into the work process was not good enough. This is highly similar to the communication issue; as planning and communication go hand in hand. The employee climate needs some restructuring, as this takeover has brought some discord among employees for the take-over firm. Change is always a relative; nothing is constant and it is critical to bear in mind that some individuals are not receptive to change. The questionnaire captured an aspect that concerns being left out while senior management does the decision making. At this point, SportsDirect will be making all the decisions and employees feel they should be consulted on some issues before making decisions, as they know about the firms in the same way as senior management. This alone could cause the psychological climate of employees to deteriorate. The questionnaire tried to capture the remuneration of employees since the takeover and most of the respondents felt quite satisfied. This brings about the attempt to satisfy employees in a new acquisition firms. However, some respondents felt their jobs have been unrewarding since the takeover, which is understandable. The reason for this dissatisfaction has been that cost reduction techniques are part of what takeover is all about. Looking at this category of question, there is evidently a need for a change of mentality and improved work ethics among employees. Also, the employer must be able to bring some form of transparency to the decision-making and the body of the firm, so as to provide an accommodative environment for employees to voice their opinions on the different subject matter. Furthermore, employers must be able to teach employees about the new normality and bear in mind that absorptive capacity of learning could take time; based on individual learning and adjusting the pattern.


The third part of this study focused on employee motivation, which could be deducted from turnover. Based on the result from the questionnaire survey, it is believed that a lot of the employees feel that they could be happy if they were to move somewhere else. The fear of the unknown is not relative here, as most of the employees believe they will be happy if they go anywhere else, even if they are unsure that they will be able to find further employment. Employee motivation in this kind of situation will be small and this will affect the productivity of the employee as aforementioned. The receptive mentality to change could have brought about the idea of unhappiness among employees. It must be kept in mind that even when asked about opinions of other employees in the questionnaire, the answer was relative; as all the employees think alike. When surveyed, the organisational changes were different; there was no change in the organisation chart that will bring about a change of jobs for employees. This indicates that nothing internally was changing, but normality was different, and this had weakened the motivational level of employees. With all the issues mentioned above, a few of the employees still felt motivated. It is plausible that these few were those at management level that could have had an increase in remuneration. This is a familiar scenario as the survey captured the similar percentage of people that felt their job had been rewarding since the takeover.


As mentioned above, job insecurity has an effect on employee motivation. The result identifies conflicting issues even within the sceptre of the questionnaire survey. The majority of respondents felt that general job losses within SportsDirect make their future seem bleak in regards to career opportunities. This is a relative term as it affects not only employees but also investors. A company having top cut jobs constantly is either going through financial turmoil or having to appease investors. In either case, it still looks bad for employees within the firm, as uncertainty is rife and the fear of the unknown become more evident. Results from the questionnaire survey indicate that a majority of the employees are not planning to stay with the company for an extended period and this could be as a result of different issues they have already faced within the organisation or because of personal issues. Either way, the result indicates that an increasing number of employees are not going to remain at the company for more than a year also as they already feel that they can find something better; something that could bring them more happiness. The result provides the conclusion that most employees have weighed their satisfaction of the takeover and have looked at how long it will take them to either stay with the organisation or adjust until they can find another job. This is one of the issues encountered during the takeover and it is certainly not something new.


Regarding the creative mentality of employees, the result indicates that most respondents feel that they have not been creative under the new regime, another thing that is not new. With take-over, you are not given the opportunity to do as you like and this could be one of the reasons for the lack of creativity. Another reason for the lack of creativity could be the job description of employees. A similar question was also surveyed within the question as to creativity being part of the job, and some respondents felt it was not, while others felt that it was. This could be a reason for low creativity, but the certainty of that could be put to debate. The feeling of being dignified was also tested in the survey, and some respondents felt it was important to be dignified at work. The basis for this was to see if employees could be more motivated if they were being dignified. The trends from this set of questions seem to show that employees of the firm in question were getting tired and were already adjusting to what reality they faced.


Furthermore, one characteristic of large multinationals is their bureaucratic system and this could affect the motivational level of employees; especially for small firms been taken over because they are unused to such a style. When tested within the survey, a larger percentage of employees felt that their work was more bureaucratic, which could cause frustration. It is understandable and as aforementioned; employees will need time to adjust to the new normality. This could also relate to the ways employees perform their task as they won’t have free-hand and will always have to look over their shoulder. This brings about the efficiency and profit orientation point; as these are characteristics that come about after a take-over. The result from the survey also tried to capture the responsibility of employees after the takeover and a larger percentage of employees felt less like managers since the takeover. The reason for this could occur as a result of a new and bureaucratic chain of command to either bring more efficiency or just a way of taking away power and control from employees. Most employees felt that the organisational culture was different; a multinational organisation will have a different corporate culture which a small firm cannot and the idea that most of the employees believe the culture is different should not be a surprise. The only foreseen thing that could happen would be the clash of tension that could arise as a result of organisational culture between managers and employees. These adaptive techniques need to be played. This conflict and tension will bring about discord between managers and employers, and this could affect the motivational level of employees. This kind of tension will cause doubt of position among employees, which was recorded in the survey and the result showed that rumours had caused a lot of employees and managers to challenge their position as to if they were doing the right thing or not. As mentioned earlier, there needs to be transparency in order to gain the trust of employees in this new takeover and the result showed that most of the management decisions are made in secret, which many employees disagree with. In addition, senior management has broken staff trust, and when evaluated in the survey, some respondents believed that was true while some completely disagreed. Senior management behaviour has been assessed in this survey, and some feel they haven’t acted recklessly, which brings about the goal of efficiency in a takeover period.


In conclusion, the results from the questionnaire show that different things have been pinpointed since the procurement of Yeomans by SportsDirect; some of which would have happened irrespective of which company procured them. However, some issues were specific to SportsDirect such as job loss. The results from the questionnaire also show that the procurement of Yeomans Outdoor by SportsDirect has led to increasing inefficiency and reduction in staff motivational level in all aspects. Some of these issues could have been avoided and some not, but the fact remains that the wellbeing of employees and motivation had reduced and this has forced employees to start looking for an exit strategy.



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