Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the antecedents (psychological contract and perceived reasons for change) and consequences (work behaviors and well-being) of employees’ commitment to organizational change. Design/methodology/approach – The authors developed a conceptual model of the antecedents and consequences of commitment to organizational change. In Study 1, based on interviews, the authors developed an instrument to measure the construct “reasons for change.” In Study 2, the authors collected questionnaire data from 228 employees of a Chinese telecom company undergoing organizational changes and tested the conceptual model using structural equation modeling. Findings – The results showed that the strength of a relational contract (one form of psychological contract) was positively related to normative commitment to change and negatively related to continuance commitment to change. External reasons for change were positively related to affective and normative commitment to change, whereas internal reasons for change were negatively related to affective commitment to change and positively related to continuance commitment to change. Affective commitment was negatively related to exit and aggressive voice. Continuance commitment was positively related to emotional exhaustion, and normative commitment was negatively related to emotional exhaustion. Research limitations/implications – The single-source cross-sectional design limits the robustness of the conclusions drawn from the findings. Two promising avenues were opened for further research: the interaction of employees’ commitment to change at different levels and the process of social construction of perceived reasons for change. Practical implications – To facilitate employee commitment to change, organizations should cultivate relational contracts with their employees and attend to the “framing effects” of employees’ perceptions of reasons for change. Social implications – This study contributes to the understanding of the relationship between employer-employee relations and employee well-being in Chinese society. It suggests that healthy employer-employee relations are beneficial for employee well-being. Moreover, Chinese firms should pay more attention to the changes occurring inside and outside their organizations, which are related to the psychological health of their employees. Originality/value – The study highlights the importance of relational contracts between an organization and its employees during organizational change process. Moreover, it is among the first to examine the relationship between employees’ perceived reasons for change and their commitment to change.
Journal of Managerial Psychology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 4, 2014