Job Satisfaction and Supportive Leadership during Organizational Merger
A key component of leadership is leading change, and yet little research has looked at the dynamic role of leadership during organizational mergers. Because the integration of companies often decreases job satisfaction within the workforce, we argue that supportive leadership of line managers becomes especially important in reducing the negative impact of the change process. Importantly, we predict that changes in supportive leadership are key to employee adjustment. We test our prediction in the context of multiple National Health Service (NHS) primary care trust mergers, which took place in 2006. We analyzed the annual staff surveys of employees and compared merging organizations with non-merging organizations longitudinally (years 2005 and 2007). As expected, employees of organizations experiencing (vs. not experiencing) a merger showed lower job satisfaction in the period of the merger. Furthermore, increases in supportive leadership during the merger period were associated with less decrease in workforce job satisfaction. Thus, results indicate that dynamic changes in leadership rather than static levels of leadership buffer against decreases in job satisfaction.