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Assessment of employees’ attitudes toward ongoing organizational transformations

Irina Heim (Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
Nibedita Sardar-Drenda (Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 31 December 2020

Issue publication date: 30 March 2021

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923

Abstract

Purpose

Global companies in the digital service industry are experiencing a pressing urgency for ongoing transformations caused by external factors driven by the need to change business models. This study aims to evaluate the willingness and ability to change as constructs of employee attitude toward change, assess their predictors and develop an approach to analyzing willingness and ability to change.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses an abductive approach, building on the refinement of existing theories. The authors conducted 306 employees' surveys and nine interviews to collect primary data.

Findings

The result of this study suggests that the employees are willing to change when they have a sense of perceived control based on collaboration with management. Factors that have an impact on the willingness and ability to change include job function, age, years of job experience, knowledge of values, company background, understanding the current challenges, understating the urgency for change, positive attitude toward past changes and trust in leadership.

Research limitations/implications

This is research is focused on one organization, and research in other industries or firms in the digital service industry would be beneficial.

Practical implications

This research contributes to the practice on the conduct of diagnostic investigation in an organization's readiness and risk for a planned change. The authors add to the existing literature the new dimensions related to the prior experience with change and understanding the need and urgency for change -specific factors that are relevant to individual ability to change. Managers can use findings in this study to learn how to plan and manage organizational change in the fast-paced business environment of digital service industries.

Social implications

This research will help to understand work attitudes, emotions and behaviors and therefore will improve the well-being in the organizations experiencing transformation.

Originality/value

Individual readiness as a stand-alone concept was not enough explored in the literature, thus creating an opportunity for this study to fill the research gap. The lessons learned from this study are the following: ongoing change initiatives require longer time with a need to extend the organizational restructuring to behavioral and mindset change. This research suggests a practical approach to the assessment of change readiness in organizations. A simple model explaining factors affecting employees' willingness and ability to change has been suggested.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Editorial Team of the Journal of Organizational Change Management (JOCM) and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive and friendly review and cooperation that allowed the authors to improve this paper. This paper also benefited from the feedback received from four anonymous reviewers at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2020. The authors would like to thank Associate Professor Joan McCormack and Mr. Jack Masters for editing and proofreading this work. No external research funding received to finance this study.

Citation

Heim, I. and Sardar-Drenda, N. (2021), "Assessment of employees’ attitudes toward ongoing organizational transformations", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 327-349. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-04-2019-0119

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited