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Research article: Change leadership versus the bureaucracy (ARPA)

Public organizations are often depicted as being bureaucratic, which is believed to limit their ability to adopt innovations and implement change. At the same time, public organizations are faced with continuous demands to implement organizational change , for example in response to societal changes, demands by clients, administrative reforms, policy changes, and financial constraints. The implementation of organizational change is a considerable challenge for public organizations. This study assesses to what extent direct supervisors’ change leadership can contribute to commitment to change of change recipients in public organizations, and examines to what extent this relationship is affected by the bureaucratic features that often characterize public organizations. The findings indicate that change leadership contributes to change recipients’ commitment to change by providing high quality change communication and stimulating employee participation in the implementation of change. However, the findings also indicate that bureaucratic red tape and a low reliance on a transformational leadership style impede the potential of change leadership to bring about employee participation in the implementation of change.

The research article is titled: “Change Leadership and Public Sector Organizational Change” and is published in The American Review Of Public Administration (ARPA). It can be accessed here (paywall). An author’s version of the text can be downloaded here: Author version – Change leadership and public sector organizational change