Change initiatives, stressors, and job satisfaction: a social information processing perspective
Scholars have argued that it is necessary develop new theoretical perspectives in order to better understand how managers, as change agents in public sector agencies, react to change. This study is a response to this call by adopting a Social Information Processing theoretical lens to investigate the consequences of managerialist-inspired change initiatives on employee outcomes in public sector organizations. Survey data about experiences of change initiatives, participation in change decision making, and provision of change information, change-induced stressors, and job satisfaction and psychological wellbeing were collected from a cross-sectional sample of 659 public sector managerial employees from agencies across Australia. The dataset was randomly split into a calibration and a validation sample to empirically test a hypothesized model using Partial Least Squares analysis. Statistically significant paths common to the calibration and validation samples showed that public sector agencies implemented flexibility-focus change initiatives that are related to an increase in change-induced stress. There is also evidence to suggest that provision of change information reduced change-induced stressors, but contrary to expectation, participation in change decision-making increased stressors. Overall, the evidence suggests that top management led flexibility-focus change initiatives induces stress, job dis-satisfaction and psychological strain.