The Relationship of Change Readiness and Work Engagement in Manufacturing Organizations in South Central Pennsylvania

Open Access
Park, Mary Jane
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
September 17, 2015
Committee Members:
  • William J Rothwell, Dissertation Advisor
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • Wesley Edward Donahue, Committee Member
  • Judith Ann Kolb, Committee Member
  • employee work engagement
  • organizational readiness for change
  • change management
  • personal resources
  • UWES-9
  • manufacturing
Successful change efforts are critical to an organization’s strategy and growth and, therefore, an understanding of how to best manage these change efforts is of interest to innovative and forward-looking organizations. The goal of this study was to determine if the employees’ level of work engagement was related to the organization’s level of readiness for the change effort. As no empirical studies were found which examined this relationship, this research adds to the existing literature on both topics. To explore the multiple variables and inter-relationships posed in the four research questions, a cross-sectional survey was conducted with a sample of manufacturing employees in south-central Pennsylvania. Work engagement was measured via the three subscales of vigor, dedication, and absorption of the nine item Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-9). Organizational readiness for change was measured with the reflexivity, and innovation and flexibility subscales of the Organizational Climate Measure (OCM). Methods to analyze the data included descriptive statistics, bivariate analyses, and hierarchical multiple regression, factorial ANOVA, and coding of qualitative data. The results of bivariate analyses demonstrate the moderate positive strength of the relationship for the seven study variables. Therefore, this study provides the first empirical evidence of the importance of employee work engagement to an organization’s readiness for change and adds to the existing literature on both constructs. Results of the hierarchical multiple regression analysis demonstrates (a) dedication was the only work engagement variable with a significant influence in explaining differences in the change readiness scores of innovation and flexibility, and (b) dedication and absorption had very similar influences in explaining score differences in reflexivity. The importance of the employee’s dedication on an organization’s readiness for change strengthened the significance of the moderate to strong correlation measured between dedication and overall RFC. Finally, three methods were used, including factorial ANOVA, to investigate the influence of position and years in the organization on overall EWE, overall RFC, and the subscales of each construct. Results demonstrate only an employee’s position is significantly related to their overall level of engagement and the vigor, dedication, and absorption with their work. However, no influence was found for position or years in the organization on overall RFC, innovation and flexibility, or reflexivity.