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An exploration into the effects of the nature of change on leader-member exchange relationships, and its consequences for change outcomes in UK higher education institutions: a multiple case stud

An exploration into the effects of the nature of change on leader-member exchange relationships, and its consequences for change outcomes in UK higher education institutions: a multiple case stud
An exploration into the effects of the nature of change on leader-member exchange relationships, and its consequences for change outcomes in UK higher education institutions: a multiple case stud
Within the leadership literature, there has been general acceptance that leadership behaviours are crucial to change success; however, all too often change fails to be implemented successfully. This thesis proposes a conceptual framework, based upon a review of the extant change and leadership literature that integrates the leader-member exchange (LMX) connection between leaders’ behaviour and attitudes and those of followers. It places LMX within a change context, and helps to identify the impact of leaders’ behaviours and attitudes, with those of followers, that leads to change outcomes. This thesis undertook a multiple case base approach, by conducting research in three different universities, that formed the basis for these case studies. The reasoning for focussing on universities was due to the changes taking place within the higher education sector, and the increasing demands and expectations placed on universities. Universities have also been perceived as environments in which large scale lasting change is difficult to achieve, as well as being resistant towards change. This meant that the researcher was interested in understanding how and why the nature of the change may impact upon LMX relationships, and change outcomes. A total of 41 interviews were conducted, with both academic and administrative employees who held leadership and non-leadership positions.

This research is qualitative in nature and applied the critical incident technique during the interviews with respondents. The researcher adopted a social constructivist and interpretative perspective when analysing the data.

The key findings that emerged from the data were as follows:
• The change process was influential upon the LMX relationship between leaders and followers, due to the impact from the nature of change. This then impacted the LMX relationship and change outcomes in a positive, negative or neutral way, thereby decreasing followers’ level of organisational commitment. • The impact from third-order change (sector) had a cascading effect upon both the second- and first-order change. • The attitudes and behaviours of leaders does have an impact upon followers’ attitudes and behaviours, but also followers’ attitudes and behaviours can have an impact upon leaders. • The change process can impact upon the quality of the LMX relationship and the responses towards change by those parties within that relationship. • Lack of involvement and consultation in change implementation had some bearing on both change outcomes (such as organisational commitment), and upon the LMX relationship (such as the quality of these relationships) due to the way change was being implemented.
This thesis concluded that leadership behaviours and attitudes, as well as lack of involvement, are seen to be key fundamental stumbling blocks to organisational commitment, for followers. It is through the LMX relationship that leaders and followers are interconnected and each party within that relationship has a crucial part to play in change implementation. When this relationship breaks down not only is the quality of the relationship affected, but followers’ organisational commitment decreases. If this were to happen, this could then inhibit and impact the chances of successfully implementing change. This research contributes to theory by providing insights into leaders’ behaviours and attitudes towards change, and explores leader-member exchange within a change context. It also contributes to the methodology by responding to calls for alternative methodological approaches in understanding employee commitment to change. This research also contributes to practice, in terms of identifying that leaders’ attitudes and behaviours not only had significant consequences and impact upon followers but also impacted upon organisational commitment. Furthermore, it informs leadership and change management development programmes as to the potential consequences that decisions makers can have upon the organisation community. The propositions suggest an agenda for future research.
University of Southampton
Simpson-Silo, Toby Arthur Louis
3c36bc1c-b30b-4da2-bdb7-76e06fb9b6d5
Simpson-Silo, Toby Arthur Louis
3c36bc1c-b30b-4da2-bdb7-76e06fb9b6d5
Higgs, Malcolm
bd61667f-4b7c-4caf-9d79-aee907c03ae3
Da Camara, Nuno
30835dd2-a3aa-4ea6-b4fd-8e5fa7c9a40d

Simpson-Silo, Toby Arthur Louis (2020) An exploration into the effects of the nature of change on leader-member exchange relationships, and its consequences for change outcomes in UK higher education institutions: a multiple case stud. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 366pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Within the leadership literature, there has been general acceptance that leadership behaviours are crucial to change success; however, all too often change fails to be implemented successfully. This thesis proposes a conceptual framework, based upon a review of the extant change and leadership literature that integrates the leader-member exchange (LMX) connection between leaders’ behaviour and attitudes and those of followers. It places LMX within a change context, and helps to identify the impact of leaders’ behaviours and attitudes, with those of followers, that leads to change outcomes. This thesis undertook a multiple case base approach, by conducting research in three different universities, that formed the basis for these case studies. The reasoning for focussing on universities was due to the changes taking place within the higher education sector, and the increasing demands and expectations placed on universities. Universities have also been perceived as environments in which large scale lasting change is difficult to achieve, as well as being resistant towards change. This meant that the researcher was interested in understanding how and why the nature of the change may impact upon LMX relationships, and change outcomes. A total of 41 interviews were conducted, with both academic and administrative employees who held leadership and non-leadership positions.

This research is qualitative in nature and applied the critical incident technique during the interviews with respondents. The researcher adopted a social constructivist and interpretative perspective when analysing the data.

The key findings that emerged from the data were as follows:
• The change process was influential upon the LMX relationship between leaders and followers, due to the impact from the nature of change. This then impacted the LMX relationship and change outcomes in a positive, negative or neutral way, thereby decreasing followers’ level of organisational commitment. • The impact from third-order change (sector) had a cascading effect upon both the second- and first-order change. • The attitudes and behaviours of leaders does have an impact upon followers’ attitudes and behaviours, but also followers’ attitudes and behaviours can have an impact upon leaders. • The change process can impact upon the quality of the LMX relationship and the responses towards change by those parties within that relationship. • Lack of involvement and consultation in change implementation had some bearing on both change outcomes (such as organisational commitment), and upon the LMX relationship (such as the quality of these relationships) due to the way change was being implemented.
This thesis concluded that leadership behaviours and attitudes, as well as lack of involvement, are seen to be key fundamental stumbling blocks to organisational commitment, for followers. It is through the LMX relationship that leaders and followers are interconnected and each party within that relationship has a crucial part to play in change implementation. When this relationship breaks down not only is the quality of the relationship affected, but followers’ organisational commitment decreases. If this were to happen, this could then inhibit and impact the chances of successfully implementing change. This research contributes to theory by providing insights into leaders’ behaviours and attitudes towards change, and explores leader-member exchange within a change context. It also contributes to the methodology by responding to calls for alternative methodological approaches in understanding employee commitment to change. This research also contributes to practice, in terms of identifying that leaders’ attitudes and behaviours not only had significant consequences and impact upon followers but also impacted upon organisational commitment. Furthermore, it informs leadership and change management development programmes as to the potential consequences that decisions makers can have upon the organisation community. The propositions suggest an agenda for future research.

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Published date: February 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 447675
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/447675
PURE UUID: 9404142c-8f5b-4aff-9278-9f33eca638b8
ORCID for Malcolm Higgs: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9032-0416

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Mar 2021 17:37
Last modified: 22 Oct 2022 01:40

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Contributors

Author: Toby Arthur Louis Simpson-Silo
Thesis advisor: Malcolm Higgs ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Nuno Da Camara

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