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Article Review - Bommer, Wh, Rich, Ga & Rubin, Rs 2005, 'changing Attitudes About Change: Longitudinal Effects of Transformational Leader Behavior on Employee Cynicism About Organizational Change'

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Journal article review

Bommer, WH, Rich, GA & Rubin, RS 2005, 'Changing attitudes about change: longitudinal effects of transformational leader behavior on employee cynicism about organizational change', Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 26, pp. 733-753.

Organizational change has been an important area of study for management researches for years, providing information to managers and organizations about how to implement change process. However, nowadays many change implementers which are responsible to execute this process still face enormous barriers to conclude successfully this task. One of these barriers is the resistance for changing. In this context, the employees' cynicism about organizational change (CAOC) can be considered a relevant factor. According to Bateman (1997), the high levels of employee cynicism are results of various factors such as layoffs, struggling economy and different levels of wage between high qualified and low level workers. Thus, employees who experience cynicism at work are characterized among other factors by loss of faith in those who are responsible for the changes, which may result in many negative effects within the organization such as increasing in absenteeism levels, less efforts to help organizational change, lower performance and commitment levels and so on.

In light of this, many change implementers are adopting leadership influence as a way to reduce these negatives impacts in organizations. There are several approaches in this context, however, the authors focused on the transformational leadership which are linked with the concept that effective leaders have power to transform or change the basic values, beliefs as well the attitudes of their followers. Thus, transformational leadership has the capacity to make individual employees more receptive to as well to develop the necessary structure to achieve the organizational change. Based in this principle, the transformational leadership behavior (TLB) focus on the employees' need, encouraging them to become more engaged and committed with the change process by giving to them examples. Furthermore, the authors have mentioned that TLB is associate with increase in employee satisfaction, satisfaction in supervision, extra efforts and overall employee performance

The presence of transformational leadership behavior within organization also is associated with the overcome of resistances presented by employees CAOC, in other words, it is likely that TLB could decrease the impacts of employees' cynicism about organizational change. Based on the information provided about TLB and CAOC, the authors elaborated two hypotheses related to the topics discussed. Firstly, by utilizing the overall concept of transformational leadership behavior which is based on its six dimensions (which are: articulating a vision of the future, fostering the acceptance of group goals, communicating high performance expectations, providing intellectual simulation, modeling appropriate behavior and displaying supportive leader behavior), the authors intend to verify whether transformational leadership behavior is a relevant factor to reduce employees' cynicism about organizational change. Secondly, based in the context of reverse causality, which may be a significant issue in the relationship between TLB and CAOC, the authors want to test whether or not reverse causality is present by verifying whether the effects of TLB will be more significant upon CAOC than CAOC upon TLB. In other words, the authors seek to prove whether transformational leadership behavior is related to decrease in employee cynicism about organizational change.

The hypotheses were tested by collecting data through surveys directed to employees in three different companies. These companies have presented good performance, stable levels of financial health and the relationship between the employees and the management in each company is considered very cordial. Moreover, the employees who made part of this study were designated to do routine activities within the company. The data was collected in two different moments. At first, 877 employees participated providing useful information. In the second moment, also known as time 2 which occurred nine months after the first data collection, 561 employees answered the survey. The procedures utilized to collect each group data were identical.

The researchers were authorized to differentiate employees who remained with the same supervisor in both periods (N=372) from those who had changed (N=189). The reasons for the change normally were associated with the movement among the supervisors and not exactly related to employees promotion, transfer and so on. The research was tested using the data provided from the employees which did not remain with their supervisors during the both periods. Moreover, it was collected demographic information about the employees as a way to verify that there is no significant difference between the employees which remained with their supervisor or not.

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