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IRSPM Conference proceeding: Cutbacks and Change Management

Can change management mitigate the negative effects of cutbacks on employee wellbeing? That is the central question dr. Brenda Vermeeren and I address in the article that we presented on the 2014 IRSPM Conference in Ottawa, Canada (9 – 11 April).

The negative effects of the implementation of cutbacks on employee wellbeing have been well documented in the past decades. Using a representative sample of over 11,000 professionals in the Dutch public sector, we analyze the relationship between the implementation of cutbacks and the organizational commitment and work engagement of civil servants. Our main findings are that cutbacks are negatively related to organizational commitment, but not to work engagement. Moreover, we find evidence that the application of change management practices, especially having individual attention for employees during the implementation process, may partly mitigate the negative impact of cutbacks.

The paper was presented in panel F2: New Directions in public leadership, innovation and change research. A full version of the conference paper can be downloaded here.