Creating a Change Message and Delivering It with Success: An Experimental Study
Dr. Secil Bayraktar is an Associate Professor of Management at Toulouse Business School, France. She received her Ph.D. in 2013 from Bogazici University Department of Management with a particular focus on organizational behavior. Before joining TBS, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at University of Victoria, Canada and as an assistant professor at Ozyegin University.
Her research interests broadly include leadership, organizational change, cross-cultural management, and expatriation. She works in internationally recognized multi-cultural projects such as the GLOBE Project and HR Climates Project. Her research has been published in prestigious journals, including Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business, Journal of International Management, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Management Decision, and Organizational Dynamics. She also works closely with business managers, providing consultancy and executive trainings to numerous companies on innovation, organizational culture, global leadership, and leading change.
One primary mechanism through which leaders influence others in the context of organizational change is their rhetoric. While planning change communication, it is important for a change agent to craft the appropriate message content to foster employees’ commitment to change. Furthermore, the literal meaning of a message can be strengthened by the way it is delivered. This study investigates the content of a change message and how it is articulated by the leader using a vignette-based experimental study. Based on a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design, 200 participants are assigned to one of the eight hypothetical change scenarios that vary by change message content, message delivery, and change context. The results show the impact of rational versus emotional content and message content versus delivery on commitment differ based on secure or insecure contexts. This study provides cues for practitioners to design change messages to obtain commitment to change.