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The importance of communicating change: Identifying predictors for support and resistance toward organizational change processes

Charlotte Schulz-Knappe (Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany)
Thomas Koch (Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany)
Johannes Beckert (Department of Communication, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 18 September 2019

Issue publication date: 20 September 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

Past research has been concerned with finding reasons for failure of organizational changes and the role of employees in it. Whether employees hinder or support organizational change depends not only on the organizational context, but also on individual predispositions and the change communication employees experience during the process. The purpose of this paper is to test how these three categories affect employees’ attitudes toward the change as well as their tendency to show resistance or to support it.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey (n=608) of German employees who were recently subject to a change in their workplace was conducted.

Findings

With respect to individual predispositions and organizational context, the results show that in particular skepticism, openness, engagement and influence on decisions are relevant predictors. Change communication variables (e.g. involvement, participation and appreciation) explain the largest share of variance, indicating that transparent communication and including employees in the process result in positive attitudes toward change and support.

Originality/value

This study adds to the discussion about which factors determine the support or resistance to organizational change by identifying relevant predictors, organizing them along three categories and testing them concurrently.

Keywords

Citation

Schulz-Knappe, C., Koch, T. and Beckert, J. (2019), "The importance of communicating change: Identifying predictors for support and resistance toward organizational change processes", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 670-685. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-04-2019-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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