Studying the Importance of Change Leadership and Change Management in Layoffs, Mergers, and Closures

Ann Louise Holten*, Gregory Robert Hancock, Anne Bøllingtoft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the importance of change leadership (informing, communicating, involving and supporting) and change management (reasons and competencies for change) for organisational change processes and their outcomes across public and private organisations. The study includes three specific change situations: first, layoffs; second, mergers; and third, closures, relocations and outsourcing, focusing on how change leadership and change management relate to employees’ experience of the change processes and their outcomes across these change situations. Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on panel data forming a representative sample of the Danish working population. A total of 2,120 responses were collected, 1,000 from public organisations and 1,120 from private organisations. Structural equation modelling was used to test the hypotheses. Findings: The study findings show that both change leadership and change management predict positive change experiences and change consequences – and that they do so similarly across public and private sectors. Despite this similarity, the study reveals important sectorial differences, with public sector employees reporting less positive change experiences and consequences. Originality/value: The paper provides valuable knowledge for researchers and public and private leaders interested in the impact of change leadership and change management on change outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Decision
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)393-409
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Change management
  • Organizational change
  • Change leadership
  • Change outcomes
  • Multisample structural equation modelling

Cite this