The Effects of Managerial Communication and Justice Perceptions on Employee Commitment to Organizational Change: A Mixed Method Field Study
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Using a mixed method research design, this study examined relationships among managerial communication, perceptions of justice, and affective commitment to change in the context of an organizational merger. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from employees of a public safety organization over a two year period following the announcement of the merger. At each time period, field interviews were conducted with a representative sample of 38 employees, followed by a survey administered to all field employees of the organization. Structural equation modeling was used to test a mediational model that proposed employees’ satisfaction with communication with their immediate supervisor influences their perceptions of the fairness of change-related procedures and outcomes. In turn, these perceptions were hypothesized to predict employees’ level of affective commitment toward the change. Overall, support was found for the hypothesized model. Specifically, the results indicated employees’ perceptions of the fairness of change-related procedures and outcomes, and their level of affective commitment to the change are positively influenced by the quality of communication with their immediate supervisor. As predicted, the effects of managerial communication on affective commitment to change were indirect, via perceptions of procedural fairness. Support was not found for prediction that distributive and interactional justice would also be positively associated with employees’ level of affective commitment to organizational change. In addition, contrary to expectations, tests for changes in the strength of the relationships among the study variables revealed no significant differences between the time periods. The findings suggest that managers who communicate effectively with employees by providing timely feedback and information about the change, and who ensure fairness in change-related procedures, are more likely to engender employee support and commitment toward the change. The implications of the study for organizations undergoing large-scale change are discussed and directions for future research provided.