SA Journal of Industrial Psychology
On-line version ISSN 2071-0768
BELL, Elsabé and BARKHUIZEN, Nicolene. The relationship between barriers to change and the work engagement of employees in a South African property management company. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.1, pp. 01-11. ISSN 2071-0768.
ORIENTATION: For any organisational change initiative to have a successful outcome, people need to contribute and be engaged in the process. RESEARCH PURPOSE:The main objective of the research was to determine the relationship between barriers to change and work engagement. The secondary objectives of the research were to determine whether there are significant relationships between barriers to change, work engagement and demographic variables. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Exploring and understanding the relationship between barriers to change and work engagement amongst different demographic groups will help organisations to predict which working environments and jobs are amenable to organisational change and which will alleviate, and maybe even eliminate, the negative effects of change. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researchers used a cross-sectional survey research design. They drew a convenience sample of 234 employees (N = 234) from a South African property management company. They administered the Barriers to Change Questionnaire and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale. MAIN FINDINGS: The results showed a practically significant relationship, with a large effect, between barriers to change and work engagement. In addition, the results showed significant differences between barriers to change and demographic groupings based on home language, ethnicity and organisational level. The results also showed significant differences between work engagement and demographic groupings based on home language, ethnicity and level of education. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Managing barriers to change can increase the work engagement of employees. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The research adds to the knowledge about the adverse effects of organisational change initiatives on people.