Aims To investigate nurse managers' accounts of organizational change. Background While the importance of the ward manager role in delivering quality care is recognized, less is known about ward managers' involvement in change. Methods Face to face qualitative narrative interviews were conducted. They were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Results Managers were experiencing change that was occurring at an increasing rate. They reported that being effective communicators was central to their approach to managing change. The hybrid nature of the role informed their approach to change and enabled them to initiate and control it to a degree at ward/department level. They did not base their management approach on theory and focused activity more on the practical and contextual nature of change. Implications for nursing management Organizational change has attracted a great deal of attention in research terms; however, there are few studies that examine nurse managers' experiences of change. The accumulated expertise and experience of this group of staff is an untapped resource in terms of mobilizing organizational change in hospitals in England. More attention to work-based learning and support would assist managers in their role.