Applying Wanous Study to a Real Life Example in an organization

Employee resistance due to cynicism will be a major factor in any organizational change process. The negative affectivity (NA) (Wanous et. al, Jun 2000 ) and fear factors (psychological and desire based) are the reasons for this kind of resistance. My organization recently went through a major change process where the development team migrated from an easy to use version control system to a more wide-focused, process oriented Change management tool (Dimensions, from Serena). This process was a major change with lot of risk factors as it was done in the middle of the busy project cycles and tight deadlines. Let me try to reflect on the results of Wanuos study, how it makes sense to this particular change that my company went through.

Result #1: To reduce pessimism, all changes should be effectively communicated –

There was lot of fear factor in each team member as whether the new system will lead more work, waste of time in unnecessary documentation and increased project delays. But the management took efforts to conduct presentations and talks on how the new tool will refine the current process of version control and take it to a higher level of change management that actually simplifies the check-in/check-out process and moving the changes in more visual and controllable manner to the various testing,UAT (user acceptance testing) and production levels. The management was able to make the employees believe that the change was really beneficial for them to gain control of the development and deployment process, in the light of high growth rate that the company is experiencing.

Result #2: Involve more employee participation in the change process –

This was evident in the way that the whole team was involved in the migration and deployment process, providing feedback for improvement and having enough knowledge of the new system through training and hands-on live examples via a pilot system. This made employees to actually see the benefits and believe that the change process is necessary for their own good.

Result #3: Cynicism is negatively correlated with amount of previous organizational change and with the motivation to keep on trying to make change

As far as previous change is concerned, there was no data available since this was a new of its kind throughout the company’s history, so there is not much to think about in those lines. Yes, providing motivation was an important factor in the change process. Increased team member motivation to gain control over the whole process of version control and management, reduced the cynicism.

Result # 4: Increased level of pre-existing Cynicism leads to increased levels of effort from the change agents to effect the change

There was no data available for this view point since this change was a new happening in the company.

Result # 5: Cynicism is positively correlated to decreased organizational commitment and increased grievance filing. –

In my company’s case, organizational commitment and top management support was on a great level since the need was crucial to keep up with the current situation of effectively handling multiple large scale projects. Grievance filing seemed to have no place in the change process, although there was opportunity to provide feedbacks.

Result # 6: Stronger the Performance to Dollar link, the greater the effect of CAOC on it

This was evident in the change process when the permanent employee staff passing remarks that “we are not paid extra time for the time we spend for extra research and insights to improve performance”. While the contractual staff, who were paid hourly, found this beneficial since they can charge for each extra hour.


1.Wanous, et al. (2000). Group & Organization Management 132-153 25, no. 2, p. 132-153. Copyright Sage Publications, Inc.