Line managers can make or break organizational interventions, yet little is known about what makes them turn in either direction. As leadership does not occur in a vacuum, it has been suggested that the organizational context plays an important role. Building on the intervention and leadership literature, we examine if span of control and employee readiness for change are related to line managers' leadership during an organizational intervention.Design/methodology/approachLeadership is studied in terms of intervention-specific constructive, as well as passive and active forms of destructive, leadership behaviors. As a sample, we use employees (N = 172) from 37 groups working at a process industry plant. Multilevel analyses over two time points, with both survey and organizational register data were used to analyze the data.FindingsThe results revealed that span of control was negatively related to constructive leadership and positively related to passive destructive leadership during the intervention. Employee readiness for change was positively related to constructive leadership, and negatively related to both passive and active destructive leadership.Practical implicationsOur findings suggest that contextual factors need to be assessed and considered if we want line managers to engage in constructive rather than destructive leadership during interventions.Originality/valueThe present study is the first to address line managers' making or breaking of organizational interventions by examining the influence of context on both their destructive and constructive leadership.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 16, 2020
Keywords: Leadership; Span of control; Readiness for change; Organizational intervention; Contextual antecedents