Factors inﬂuencing organizational change efforts
An integrative investigation of change content, context, process and individual differences H. Jack Walker, Achilles A. Armenakis and Jeremy B. Bernerth Department of Management, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the integrative inﬂuence of content, context, process, and individual differences on organizational change efforts. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected from employees involved in a recent de-merger. Using structural equation modeling, a hypothesized model that integrated individual differences with change content, context, and process factors was tested. Findings – Results led to the acceptance of a model indicating that change context mediated the relationship between individual differences and change process and content. Similarly, change content and process mediated the relationship between change context and organizational change commitment. Research limitations/implications – Owing to the nature of the study, inferences of causality cannot be made. Additionally, common method bias may be a concern because criterion and response variables were collected at the same time. Practical implications – An organization’s prior change history (i.e. context) has the potential to negatively inﬂuence change success. In order to counteract these effects, change agents should concentrate on clearly communicating the change details (i.e. process) to employees. Originality/value – This study is one of the ﬁrst to integrate factors common to all change efforts, i.e. content, context, process and individual differences. Further, it elaborates on how these factors interact to inﬂuence change success. Keywords Organizational change, Employee behaviour, Change management, Corporate communications Paper type Research paper
Integration of change factors
For over one-half century, researchers have attempted to provide insight into change dynamics and help organizations successfully implement change. Lewin (1947) argued that a successful change must involve three distinct phases: unfreezing, moving, and freezing. Building on the Lewinian phase model, several change researchers have described steps practitioners can employ in implementing organizational changes (Armenakis et al., 1999; Galpin, 1996; Judson, 1991; Kotter, 1995). However, adhering to the steps outlined in the aforementioned models does not necessarily guarantee organizational change success. Change agents must also be conscious of several factors speciﬁc to the changing organization. In a review of organizational change research conducted during the 1990s, Armenakis and Bedeian (1999) identiﬁed three factors common to all change efforts. Speciﬁcally, they reviewed research that involved content issues, contextual issues, and process issues. Research has focused on each of these factors on an individual basis, but little research exists integrating these
Journal of Organizational Change Management Vol. 20 No. 6, 2007 pp. 761-773 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0953-4814 DOI 10.1108/09534810710831000
change factors. In fact, Damonpour (1991) suggested that change success may ultimately be determined by the ﬁt between content, contextual, and process factors. Another factor that cannot be ignored in organizational change research is individual differences among the change agents and the change targets. Until recently, these topics received little attention in the change literature. Recognizing this absence, Bray (1994) called for an increase in organizational change research focusing on the micro-level factors inﬂuencing change success. Similarly, Judge et al. (1999, p. 107) suggested that change success may lie “within the psychological predispositions of individuals experiencing the...