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The influence of a change story on employees : a n experimental case study into the effects of narratives on the level of change fatigue employees experience.

Assink, Y. (2019) The influence of a change story on employees : a n experimental case study into the effects of narratives on the level of change fatigue employees experience.

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Abstract:Purpose: Internal and external stressors cause that companies need to initiate change more and more these days. Although the changes help the company to develop, a continuing change can have a negative impact on employees. Research has shown that ongoing changes or changes with a high impact can cause change fatigue. Employees’ perception of change is based on affective and cognitive components. Based on those components the individual creates a meaningful framework to understand the nature of the intended change, the process of sensemaking. Research suggests that this process can be influenced by sensegiving in the form of narratives. In this way change stories are used to lower the level of change fatigue among employees. Previous research suggests a relation between change fatigue and concepts such as trust, identification, and job satisfaction. These concepts are often referred to as mediation variables in models with change fatigue. The aim of this study is to validate the use of a change story in a real change situation. Method: An experimental case study was conducted in a KLM Engineering and Maintenance department. The design of the study included two manipulation groups, one control group and one group exposed to a manipulation. The manipulation was created for this specific context which resulted in a change story. The instrument consisted out of a questionnaire, measuring change fatigue, trust, identification, job satisfaction, and the impact expectation. By stratified random sampling the employees were divided into two groups. Via e-mail all employees of the department were asked to participate in the experiment. In total 128 employees participated in the experimental case study. According to the demographics, the outcomes are representative for both the department and the sector.   Results: The results showed no statistically significant influence between the presence and absence of a change story. However, comparing the correlations between the different constructs between the two groups, some noticeable outcomes were visible. The results suggest that the correlations between change fatigue and trust, identification and job satisfaction seem to get stronger when the change story is present. On the contrary, the correlation of trust, identification and job satisfaction seem to get less strong in the presence of a change story. Also, some effects were found for the impact evaluations. Here, it is notable that the correlation between the impact evaluation and the change fatigue is stronger in the group with a change story. On the other hand, the correlations between the impact evaluation on both short- and long-term, trust, identification and job satisfaction are higher in the group without a change story. In addition to that the impact evaluation, short-term and long-term, has a statistically significant regression with change fatigue. The other constructs did not have any significant regressions with change fatigue. Conclusion:The study did not find a direct relation between the use of a change story and the level of change fatigue. Also, a possible effect of the change story on the suggested mediators is minimal. And therefore, the findings did not support the assumptions made out of literature. However, some dynamics are viable between the use of a change story and the correlation between the different constructs used. Moreover, a regression analysis pointed out that the suggested model in the theoretical framework has a predictability of 18% toward change fatigue caused by the impact evaluation on both the short- and long-term. Future research can increase the power of the study, minimize some limitations and broaden the framework for the use of narratives. Keywords: Change Fatigue, Narratives, Change Story, Sensemaking, Sensegiving, Trust, Identification, Job Satisfaction, Impact Expectation
Item Type:Essay (Master)
KLM Engineering and Maintenance, Schiphol-Oost, Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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