When the going gets tough: Employee reactions to large‐scale organizational change and the role of employee Machiavellianism

BELSCHAK, Frank D., JACOBS, Gabriele, GIESSNER, Steffen R., HORTON, Kate E. and BAYERL, Petra Saskia (2020). When the going gets tough: Employee reactions to large‐scale organizational change and the role of employee Machiavellianism. Journal of Organizational Behavior.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2478


Large-scale, long-term change initiatives take time to unfold, which can be a source ofuncertainty and strain. Investigating the initial 19 months of a large-scale change, weargue that during these stages, employees' change-related beliefs become more negativeover time, which negatively affects their work engagement and, ultimately, increasestheir turnover intentions. Furthermore, we investigate the impact of a trait, Machiavel-lianism, on change reactions and propose that employees high in Machiavellianism reactmore negatively during change processes as they are especially susceptible to uncer-tainty and stress. We test our (cross-level) moderated mediation model in a three-wavelongitudinal study among employees undergoing a large-scale change (T1: n = 1,602; T2:n =1,113;T3:n = 759). We find that employees' beliefs about the impact and value ofthe change are indeed negatively related to change duration and that decreases in theseperceptions come with a decline in engagement and increases in turnover intentions.Moreover, employees high in Machiavellianism react more strongly to a deterioration inchange-related beliefs, showing stronger reductions in engagement and strongerincreases in turnover intentions than employees low in Machiavellianism. Our studyoffers explanations for the negative effects of large-scale changes including an explana-tory factor for disparate employee reactions to change over time.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Business & Management; 1503 Business and Management; 1701 Psychology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2478
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2020 12:11
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 08:03
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/27321

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