Supervisors play an important role in the implementation of organizational policies and practices. This study aims to examine the role of supervisors as both recipients and main implementers of organizational change by investigating how supervisors’ relationship with organization would affect their attitude toward change (ATC) and how employees–supervisor relationship, as perceived by employees, would influence their reaction to change.Design/methodology/approachThe influence of participation, perceived organizational support (POS) and mutual expectation clarity (MEC) on supervisors’ ATC was examined, along with the influence of leader–member exchange, perception of supervisor’s expressed ATC and also supervisors’ organizational status on employees’ ATC. Two studies were conducted in a chain hospital in India.FindingsThe findings suggest that supervisors’ ATC improved by higher participation, POS and MEC. Also, while employees’ change attitude was predicted by how they perceived their supervisors’ status, expressed reaction toward change and perception of employee–supervisor relationship, for employees who either perceived highly negative change attitude of their supervisors or believed that their supervisors had low organizational status, the employee–supervisor relationship had almost no effect on improving employees’ attitude.Originality/valueConsidering that supervisors often tend to engage in professional relationships with their subordinate employees, little is investigated on how, through the lens of relationships, supervisors may affect employees’ ATC. This paper attempts to make a difference by conducting two connected studies in a chain hospital to examine how supervisors – as recipients and implementers of organizational policies and practices – could influence employees’ ATC. The findings suggest managerial implications that could inform practitioners toward improvement of employee buy-ins for change programs.
Journal of Asia Business Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 8, 2021
Keywords: Attitude toward change; Social exchange; Perceived organizational support; Organizational change management; Supervisors; Leadership theories; Leader–member exchange theory; Organizational relationship; Implementation
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