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Attitudes towards organizational change: What is the role of employees’ stress and commitment?

Maria Vakola (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)
Ioannis Nikolaou (Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 1 April 2005




Occupational stress and organizational change are now widely accepted as two major issues in organizational life. The current study explores the linkage between employees’ attitudes towards organizational change and two of the most significant constructs in organizational behaviour; occupational stress and organizational commitment.


A total of 292 participants completed ASSET, a new “Organizational Screening Tool”, which, among other things, measures workplace stress and organizational commitment and a measure assessing attitudes towards organizational change.


The results were in the expected direction showing negative correlations between occupational stressors and attitudes to change, indicating that highly stressed individuals demonstrate decreased commitment and increased reluctance to accept organizational change interventions. The most significant impact on attitudes to change was coming from bad work relationships emphasizing the importance of that occupational stressor on employees’ attitudes towards change. The results did not support the role of organizational commitment as a moderator in the relationship between occupational stress and attitudes to change.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the research design could be that all measures originated from the same source resulting in possible contamination from common method variance. Further, the cross‐sectional research design adopted in the present study, as opposed to a longitudinal or experimental methodology, does not allow affirmative causal explanations.


The present study showed that good and effective work relationships are very important in organizational change. Handling conflicts, building supportive work relationships and communicating effectively all contribute to the formulation of positive attitudes to change and, therefore, to the success of a change programme. In addition, organizations need to examine the extra workload which organizational change may create. Increase in workload is not only easily attributable to the change but it also makes change unattractive and problematic leading to non‐supportive attitudes.



Vakola, M. and Nikolaou, I. (2005), "Attitudes towards organizational change: What is the role of employees’ stress and commitment?", Employee Relations, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 160-174.



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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