Employee Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Organizational Change: A hierarchical perspective

Guttormur Árni Ársælsson & Margrét Theodórsdóttir

Student thesis: Master thesis


This study examines attitudes and perceptions of employees during organizational change, based on their hierarchical position. Based on prior research on organizational change, we predicted that higher-level employees would respond more favorably to change, and that their attitudes and perceptions would be different from those lower in the hierarchy. This led to the following research question: Do employees' attitudes and perceptions during organizational change differ across hierarchical levels? Two measurement methods were conducted on the same organizational sample. 49 employees at various companies answered a structured questionnaire, and four of those were subsequently interviewed in a semi-structured interview. Results showed a partial confirmation to the hypothesis. Higher-level employees displayed more positive attitudes on several indicators. They tended to be more convinced that the change would positively influence relations between co-workers; that the change was necessary; that they were included in the change process and had less fear of the change affecting their own position in a negative way. Lower level employees were less optimistic on a variety of indicators, such as how the change would affect them personally, inclusion in the change process and how much conflict the change would cause within the organization. Some parts of the hypothesis were not supported or only partly supported, as there was a similarity in attitudes on many indicators, regardless of hierarchical level. These included satisfaction with leadership, perceived necessity of the change, as well as general satisfaction with the outcome.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages115