The vast majority of interventions during organizational change tend to focus on individually-held attitudes toward change. However, groups often form collective attitudes that are distinct from those held by its individual members, and organizational change often necessitates collective attitude change within teams, work units, or even the entire organization. We challenge the dominant view that collective attitudes to organizational change merely reflect an aggregation of individual attitudes by considering how and why collectively-held change attitudes are formed and activated. Drawing on social network theory, we propose an alternative approach toward an understanding of change. Acknowledging and detailing attitude formation as a social response to change – a social system of interaction among change recipients – we explain how collective attitudes to organizational change emerge. With this stance, individuals may hold broad and differing attitudes, but as a group can come together to share a collective attitude toward change. Using this approach, we explain how collective attitudes and individual attitudes are linked through top-down or bottom-up processes, or a combination of both. Developing this alternative perspective improves our understanding of how collective attitudes to change develop and evolve and enables both scholars and practitioners to better manage and influence the formation of change-supportive collective attitudes.
Bouckenooghe, D., Schwarz, G.M., Hastings, B. and Lukacs de Pereny, S.G. (2019), "Facilitating Change through Groups: Formation of Collective Attitudes toward Change", Research in Organizational Change and Development (Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 27), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 143-165. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0897-301620190000027009
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