Employee Focus of Attention and Reactions to Organizational Change

Donald G. Gardner, Randall B. Dunham, L. L. Cummings, Jon L. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This article examines the role of employee focus of attention- and the target of this focus-on employee reactions to organizational change efforts. The authors conducted an empirical study of 476 clerical workers in three regional offices of a large insurance company. Subjects were assigned either to an experimental group-which underwent job changes-or a control group, and completed a survey before and after the change effort The authors had hypothesized that employees focusing highly on their jobs would react relatively favorably to the job changes, that those focusing highly on their work units would react relatively little; and that those focusing little on off-the-job factors would reactstrongly. The results provided only mixed support for the first two hypotheses and did not support the third, but indicated that focus of attention indeed moderates the effectiveness of job change interventions for both “soft” dependent variables (e g., satisfaction) and “hard” ones (eg., performance). The authors conclude that organizational change efforts may have strong effects when employees focus on targets of change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-370
Number of pages20
JournalThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1987

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