The purpose of this paper is to explore the structure of leader communication style in the context of organizational change. In doing so, the authors intend to shed more light on how leaders can effectively communicate change projects to their subordinates, which is viewed as the key to implementing change initiatives.
This paper builds an integrated conceptual model for understanding leader’s communication style and subordinates’ commitment to change. By analyzing subordinates’ different fears of change, the paper further proposes a multidimensional structure of leader communication style in the context of change. The authors then develop a scale to measure these different dimensions and test the relationship between the proposed communication style and subordinates’ affective commitment to change.
Leader communication style in the context of change is found to be composed of five dimensions: hope orientation, reality orientation, subordinate orientation, support orientation, and enforcement orientation. A cross-level field study of 31 teams and 194 members shows that hope orientation, subordinate orientation, and support orientation are positively associated with subordinates’ affective commitment to change.
This paper identifies a new structure of leader communication style that will lead to a richer understanding of how leaders communicate to their subordinates in the context of change. It also contributes to the leadership literature by implying effective ways of communicating change projects.
This study is supported by the Renmin University of China Research Program for Humanities and Social Sciences International Journals Publications (No. 2011030127).
Luo, W., Song, L.J., Gebert, D.R., Zhang, K. and Feng, Y. (2016), "How does leader communication style promote employees’ commitment at times of change?", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 242-262. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-11-2014-0204
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