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Recent research has adopted a micro, people-oriented focus to the study of organizational change, where the focus is on individual employee behaviours, attitudes, and cognitions. The purpose of this study is to integrate and expand this research by examining the relationship among commitment to change, coping with change, and turnover intentions. Data were collected from 299 employees of 10 organizations undergoing signi\ufb01cant organizational change. Results from structural equation modelling indicate that (a) the relationship between a\ufb00ective commitment to change and turnover intentions was fully mediated by coping with change, (b) the relationship between continuance commitment to change and turnover intentions was only partially mediated by coping with change, and (c) normative commitment to change had a direct impact on turnover intentions. Results are discussed in terms of implications for managing organizational change.
As labour forces, technologies, and various environmental factors continue to change, so too do organizations. As a result, considerable research has been devoted to understanding the change and development process. Recent reviews of this literature have demonstrated that theories used to study change\u2014such as population ecology (Hannan & Freeman, 1977), institu- tional theory (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983; Oliver, 1992), and resource dependence (Pfe\ufb00er & Salancik, 1978)\u2014are principally macro focused (Cunningham, 2002; Van de Ven & Poole, 1995). As a result, this research largely focuses on organizational and systems-level variables, such as institutional pressures for change, environmental factors, the \ufb01rm\u2019s strategic orientation, age, and size, and various design factors. Of the studies that
Correspondence should be addressed to George B. Cunningham, Dept. of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, TAMU 4243, College Station, TX 77843-4243, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
have examined individual factors, almost all have focused on top managers (e.g., transformational leadership; Amis, Slack, & Hinings, 2004) or management teams (e.g., upper echelon theory; Hambrick & Mason, 1984).
As an alternative perspective, researchers have begun to adopt a more micro focus of change by examining the individuals within the organization and the psychological factors in\ufb02uencing change e\ufb00orts (Herscovitch & Meyer, 2002; Judge, Thoresen, Pucik, & Welbourne, 1999; Wanberg & Banas, 2000). For example, Judge et al. (1999) examined antecedents (i.e., personality) and outcomes (i.e., job performance, job satisfaction) associated with employees\u2019 coping with organizational change, while Wanberg and Banas (2000) found that lower levels of change acceptance were related to less job satisfaction and stronger turnover intentions. More recently, Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) found validity evidence for a three-component model of commitment to change, as well as support for the linkage between commitment to change and subsequent behaviours associated with support- ing change.
These studies have contributed to the change literature by demonstrating the importance of psychological factors in the organizational change process. The purpose of this study was to integrate and extend these studies by further considering the relationship between commitment to change and coping with change, as well as the relationship of these variables to organizational turnover intentions. Speci\ufb01cally, it was expected that a\ufb00ective and continuance commitment to change would be signi\ufb01cantly associated with coping with change, albeit in di\ufb00erent directions, and that coping with change would be negatively associated with turnover intentions. The relationship between normative commitment to change and turnover intentions was thought to be direct. The framework and speci\ufb01c hypotheses are presented below.
Various scholars have discussed the importance of a commitment to the change initiative taking place in an organization. For example, Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) argued that \u2018\u2018commitment is arguably one of the most important factors involved in employees\u2019 support for change initiatives\u2019\u2019 (p. 474). Indeed, without such support, even the best-developed plans would fall by the wayside. Others have expressed similar notions. Huy (2002) commented that employees are more likely to collectively support organiza- tional change programs when there is a sense of trust and attachment to the organization. Huy further commented that \u2018\u2018wavering commitment among agents during implementation could . . . lead to organizational inertia\u2019\u2019 (p. 46;
see also Conner &Patterson, 1982). Finally, Conner (1992) argued that it was commitment to the change that connected employees with organizational goals for change.
Despite the noted importance of commitment to organizational change, little research systematically attempting to measure the construct, its antecedents, and its outcomes. The work by Herscovitch and Meyer (2002) represents a notable exception. In drawing from Meyer and Herscovitch (2001), these authors described commitment to change as \u2018\u2018a force (mind-set) that binds an individual to a course of action deemed necessary for the successful implementation of a change initiative\u2019\u2019 (p. 475). Consistent with their previous work (e.g., Meyer, Allen, & Smith, 1993), Herscovitch and Meyer further di\ufb00erentiated between three types of commitment to change: a\ufb00ective, normative, and continuance.A\ufb00ective commitment to change entails supporting the initiative based on the belief that it will provide bene\ufb01ts to the organization.Normative commitment to change re\ufb02ects a sense of obligation to the support the change programme. Finally,continuance commitment to change involves supporting the change initiative because of the recognition of the costs associated with failing to do so. Herscovitch and Meyer also demonstrated that (a) their commitment to change measure was empirically distinct from a multidimensional model of organizational commitment and (b) a\ufb00ective and normative commitment to change were related to various behavioural outcomes related to supporting change (i.e., championing change).
Another important factor in the change process is the employees\u2019 coping behaviour when changes take place. Coping behaviour is generally de\ufb01ned as \u2018\u2018conscious psychological and physical e\ufb00orts to improve one\u2019s resourcefulness in dealing with stressful events...or to reduce external demands\u2019\u2019 (Anshel, Kim, Kim, Chang, & Hom, 2001, p. 45). Research has suggested that coping is particularly important in the organizational context of change because such transformations are often accompanied by uncertainty, anger, stress, and con\ufb02ict at work and at home (Ashford, 1988; Schweiger & DeNisi, 1991). Marchione and English (1982), for example, argued that \u2018\u2018organizations must learn to cope with change\u2019\u2019 (p. 52), while Cunningham et al. (2002) suggested that employees who are con\ufb01dent in their ability to cope with change are likely better equipped to contribute to the change process.
Indeed, empirical research provides support as to the importance of the ability cope with change. Cunningham et al. (2002), for example, found that con\ufb01dence in the ability to cope with organizational change was positively related with readiness for change, participation in the change process, and
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