First line manager's perceptions of their changing role at Amalgamated Beverage Industries.
In order to remain competitive organisations go through changes, becoming smaller in size resulting in some departments, positions in finance and human resources becoming redundant, promoting employee empowerment, flexibility and reducing the number of line management in order to reduce costs and remain efficient. These change initiatives have led to the change in the role of first line managers, who are seen as having a critical role to play in executing the functional roles that have become redundant, effectively the role of first line managers, their attitudes and behaviours need to be changed to align with their new role and its expectations. Therefore, the objective of the study was to investigate first line manager’s perceptions of their changing role at Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI) in South Africa. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among 40 first line managers using a web based self-administered questionnaire. The results indicate that skills development, availability of resources and support from senior leadership affects the way in which people respond to their changing role. The results show that the skills development of respondents during the change process was helpful, more than 60% found this process helpful. The results also showed that 57.9% of the respondents were positive and agreed that adequate resources were provided and available to assist in managing. More than half of respondents found company support, helpful at 53.85%, while 46.15% found the company support challenging. The majority of respondents (74.36%) felt empowered by their changing role. It can be concluded that first line management role change leads to change in expected performance, skills required, attitudes, perceptions and behaviours by individuals, and the way an organisation responds to the skills development needs. It can also be concluded that the perceived support and availability of resources affects individual performance. It is recommended that ABI invest more time in continuously developing and empowering first line managers with managerial, human resources and computer skills. The lessons from this study should be of benefit to ABI and other organisations struggling to address the readiness and the skills capability of first line managers.