Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > An examination of social influence effects on commitment to change and implementation behaviors

Planned organizational changes can be expensive and difficult to implement. Research suggests that implementation failure occurs when managers do not gain their employees' skilled, consistent, and committed program (or product) use (Klein, Conn, & Sorra, 2001). This definition highlights the need to understand commitment to change and the implementation stage of organizational change. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate attitudinal and behavioral responses to an organizational change by specifying how employee-generated reasons, and dyadic influence mechanisms, relate to employee commitment to change. Two theories are used to understand the processes employees go through in deciding to support and implement a change. First, Behavioral Reasons Theory (Westaby, 2002, 2005) identifies the reasons people consider when deciding to support or resist a change-and I extend this theory by suggesting that reasons may have organizing categories. Second, I build upon social information processing theory (Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978) to suggest that people emphasize different reasons for and against supporting a change after interacting with different network partners. I then argue that employee commitment to change is in part due to the reasons employees adopt from influential network partners at work. I close by further validating that certain types of commitment to change (affective, normative, and continuance) relate to certain implementation behaviors. Findings indicated and that employee ratings of reasons were subject to influence effects over time (even controlling for original ratings). This was true in the case of reasons related to resource issues and reasons related to the opinions of others. Findings also indicate a significant effect for relationship symmetry and the closeness of reason ratings over time, again for two types of reasons. Also, there was evidence that reasons may be organized by categories, and that certain categories relate to different types of commitment to change. Lastly, regression results indicated that two of the three types of commitment to change related to behavioral outcomes, specifically cooperation and championing behaviors. This work helps researchers understand more about the social-contextual factors related to organizational change and it can help practitioners intervene in facilitating the implementation of organizational change initiatives.