Implicit Change Leadership, Change Management, and Affective Commitment to Change: Comparing Academic Institutions vs Business Enterprises

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine differences in implicit change leadership schemas and their relationship with change management (CM) of employees of academic institutions and business enterprises.

Design/methodology/approach – This study used a quantitative approach through surveys with 645 employees in academic institutions and business enterprises. Path analysis and regression were conducted to determine the relationships between the constructs.

Findings – Results show that CM mediates the relationship of change leadership schemas and affective commitment to change in both business enterprises and academic institutions. However, differences were found in the change leadership schemas that predict perceived effectiveness of CM. Execution competencies predicted effectiveness of CM in business enterprises whereas strategic and social competencies predicted perceived effectiveness of CM in academic institutions.

Research limitations/implications – The limitations of the study were the use of self-report data and its cross-sectional design. Future research may use longitudinal designs and multiple sources of data to explore the relationship of change leadership schemas and perceived effectiveness of CM. Moreover, leadership schemas may be examined in other types of organizations such as non-profits, government agencies and social enterprises.

Practical implications – Results suggest that change leadership schemas are context-dependent. Thus, it is important to consider organizational culture and follower schemas when choosing change leaders and executing change. Moreover, differences in the saliences of change leader schemas by type of organization suggest the need to adopt contextually nuanced approaches to the selection and development of change leaders.

Originality/value – This paper contributes to organizational change literature by providing evidence of differences in change leadership schemas among academic institutions and business enterprises.