SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Leading Changes: Why Transformation Explanations Fail

Hughes, M. (2015). Leading changes: Why transformation explanations fail. 12, 449–469. doi:10.1177/1742715015571393

Abstract: Professor John Kotter (1995) claimed in Leading Change: Why transformation efforts fail to have identified eight leadership errors which resulted in transformation failures. He followed this up in 1996 with his best-selling book Leading Change, prescribing an eight-step model for leading transformations encouraging change leaders to create a sense of urgency, build powerful guiding coalitions and develop visions. Kotter openly acknowledged that he neither drew examples nor major ideas from any published source, except his own writing. In the 2012 edition of his book, which included a new preface, Kotter claimed that his book was now more relevant than when it was first published. As leaders knowingly or unknowingly still use Kotter's steps and academics still cite this book, this paper critically assesses Kotter's claim about the relevance of Leading Change. Three conclusions are drawn; Leading Change remains an enduring landmark leadership study, but Leading Change is stuck in the past and paradoxically today discourages change.

Journal Article 2: Realizing Challenges and Guarding Against Threats

Byron, K., Peterson, S. J., Zhang, Z., & LePine, J. A. (2016). Realizing challenges and guarding against threats: Interactive effects of regulatory focus and stress on performanceJournal of Management. doi:10.1177/0149206316658349

Abstract: Self-regulation seems crucial to understanding how employees perform under stress because employees must regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behavior to deal effectively with work stress. Integrating regulatory focus theory and the challenge–hindrance stressor framework, we theorized that the effects of regulatory focus on job performance would vary as a function of the level of stress employees’ experience. Specifically, we contend that employees are more efficacious and motivated (and thus perform better) when they have established goal and coping strategies that allow them to cope with the stress they face; those lacking in these strategies are likely to find the stress overwhelming and taxing (and perform worse). Using multisource data of 160 salespersons, we investigated this relationship with two measures of job performance. We found that challenge stress moderates the relationship between promotion focus and job performance: When challenge stress is high, promotion focus is positively related to job performance; when low, promotion focus is negatively or not significantly related to job performance. We also found that hindrance stress moderates the relationship between prevention focus and job performance: When hindrance stress is low, prevention focus is negatively related to job performance, but when high, prevention focus is positively related to job performance. Moreover, we find some support for three-way interactions suggesting that using mismatched goal and coping strategies is especially harmful. Our results explain performance differences in high-stress situations and highlight the important role of self-regulation when employees are in stressful conditions.