Employee intentions to participate in change: the influence of organizational variables, employee beliefs and attitudes



Cree, Tara

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University of Guelph


Change has become a way of life for organizations, as the business environment has become increasingly dynamic. Organizations are investing significant time and money on change initiatives, many of which are unsuccessful. Researchers have attempted to identify those factors that are critical for effective change. Employee participation in change is one of the factors most commonly discussed. However, numerous change initiatives continue to be unsuccessful even when employee involvement is a component of the initiative. One factor that may contribute to this lack of success is employee willingness to participate. Questioning the assumption that employees are willing to participate in such initiatives, this thesis describes the development of a model of employee intentions to participate in organizational change initiatives. The resulting model, based on Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) Theory of Reasoned Action, suggests that employee intentions to participate are influenced by employee beliefs and attitudes toward participating in change initiatives, and that employee beliefs and attitudes are influenced by a number of organizational variables. Specifically, the model suggests that the more favorable a person's attitude toward participating in organizational change initiatives and the more a person perceives that significant others think that they should participate, then the higher the person's intention to do so. Further, the model suggests that the following variables play a role in whether or not employees are willing to, or intend to, participate in organizational change initiatives, mediated through their influence on beliefs and attitudes: perceptions of authenticity, or whether or not the employee believes that their input will be valued and taken into consideration; perceived organizational support, or the extent to which the employee believes the organization cares about their well-being; perceptions of fairness; and an employee's past experience participating within the organization. Therefore, in order to create a climate that encourages employee participation, organizations must ensure that employees are treated fairly, employee contributions are valued and taken into consideration, and employee input is not asked for unless the organization intends to use the information. Details of the relationships identified in the model as well as further implications for organizations and future research are discussed.



employee intentions, employee beliefs, attitudes, organizational change initiatives, employee participation