Title

Ethical leadership in times of change: the role of change commitment and change information for employees’ dysfunctional resistance

Source of Publication

Personnel Review

Abstract

© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: In the present study, the authors draw on social exchange theory to argue that ethical leaders offer positive exchanges in times of change and thereby encourage employees’ change commitment, which subsequently reduces their dysfunctional resistance. Drawing on uncertainty management theory, the authors further hypothesize that employees’ perception of change information (i.e. a change-specific context) not only moderates the negative relationship between employees’ change commitment and dysfunctional resistance but also the indirect relationship between ethical leadership and dysfunctional resistance via change commitment. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted a two-source cross-sectional survey involving 144 matched pairs of employees and coworkers from a range of organizations. Findings: Employees’ change commitment mediates the relationship between ethical leadership and their dysfunctional resistance. Furthermore, employees’ perception of change information not only moderates the relationship between change commitment and dysfunctional resistance but, more importantly, also the indirect effect between ethical leadership and dysfunctional resistance via change commitment. More specifically, the effect of change commitment on employees’ dysfunctional resistance as well as the indirect effect of ethical leadership on employees’ dysfunctional resistance through change commitment are stronger when there is little change information. Research limitations/implications: Ethical leadership is able to reduce employees’ dysfunctional resistance, particularly when employees have limited information regarding the change. Originality/value: This study demonstrates how change commitment acts as a mediator and change information serves as a moderator in the ethical leadership–dysfunctional resistance relationship in the time of organizational change.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2020

DOI

10.1108/PR-03-2019-0122

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