THE ROLE OF AFFECT AND LEADERSHIP DURING ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE

Authors


  • This research was supported by National Science Foundation (#0452984) and the Smith Technology Integration Initiative Grant to Myeong-Gu Seo, Susan Taylor, and Paul Tesluk.

Myeong-Gu Seo, Department of Management and Organization, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-1815; mseo@rhsmith.umd.edu.

Abstract

Based on multilevel data collected at 2 points in time, we examine the role of employees’ affective experiences in shaping their commitment and behavioral responses to both the initial (Time 1) and later (Time 2) phases of organizational change (12 months later). We also test the cross-level effect of workgroup managers’ transformational leadership on their employees’ responses to change. We find strong support for predicted longitudinal relationships between employees’ affective experiences and their commitment and behavioral responses to change. In particular, employees’ positive and negative affect (NA) at Time 1 significantly predict both their commitment to change and the 3 dimensions (supportive, resistant, and creative) of behavioral responses at Time 2. Further, the effects of NA directly influence employee change commitment and behaviors at Time 2, whereas the long-term effects of positive affect occur both directly and indirectly through commitment to change at Time 1. Finally, our results support the hypothesized role of workgroup managers’ transformational leadership in shaping employees’ affective reactions and commitment to change at the initial phase of change and thereby, their subsequent behavioral responses in the later phase. We discuss the implications for theory and practice in organizational change.

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