The purpose of this paper is to identify processes which may contribute to followers’ positive reactions to change. By focusing on the relationship between change antecedents and explicit reactions, the authors investigate the direct and indirect relationships between leadership styles (transformational and transactional) and followers’ appraisal of change through manager engagement.
Using data from a longitudinal survey among 351 followers in two Danish organizations, the study tracked the planned implementation of team organization at two different times. Data were analyzed using structural equation modelling.
Transformational and transactional leadership styles were positively related to the engagement of managers. Managers’ engagement was associated with followers’ appraisal of change. The two leadership styles also had a direct, long-term effect on followers’ change appraisal; positive for transformational leadership and negative for transactional leadership.
The results have potential implications for change management, as followers’ change appraisal may be improved by developing managers’ leadership style and engagement.
This is the first study to provide longitudinal evidence of the direct and indirect effects of leadership styles on followers’ change appraisal.
This research was funded by the Danish Working Environment Research Fund Grant No. 16-2004-09. The authors thank Professor Arnold Bakker for valuable comments on a draft version of the paper.
Holten, A.-L. and Brenner, S.O. (2015), "Leadership style and the process of organizational change", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 2-16. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-11-2012-0155
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