Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth E. Dickie

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert O. Brinkerhoff

Third Advisor

Dr. Trudy G. Verser


Organizational change continues to challenge leaders as they are charged with transforming their followers from a present state to a future state. This research examined the relationship between perceived communication practices of leaders and employee response to change in a natural setting. Randomly selected employees from the research and development division of a mid-size Fortune 500 company located in the Midwest comprised the sample (N. = 110). The study was executed upon completion of a large-scale change in policy which was formally communicated according to a protocol established by senior management. The participants completed three survey instruments: (1) Communication Environment Assessment, (2) Organizational Change Orientation Scale (Jones & Bearley, 1986), and (3) Professional Communication Inventory (Pfaff & Busch, 1992).

Pearson Product Moment Correlations were calculated between the leader's perceived skill on twelve communication practices and the employee's response to change score on three scales: supportive scale, neutral scale, and nonsupportive scale. Data analysis confirmed significant relationships between 11 of the 12 communication practices measured and employee nonsupport of change.

Individual scores on the three scales were used to determine change profiles. Employees were classified into one of seven profile patterns. The leader's mean PCI total score was used to test for differences across profile groups. ANOVA results indicated that employees who are indifferent toward change or are working toward embracing change perceive their leaders as having better communication practices than employees who resist change efforts.

A post-hoc test revealed that employees who completed the communication protocol as planned had a higher score on the supportive change scale than employees who did not complete the planned protocol.

Recommendations for further research are included.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access