This study investigated how middle managers can facilitate change by affecting subordinates’ affective responses and attitudes towards a merger. We utilized leader-member exchange theory and appraisal theory to argue that employees in high quality exchange relationships with their supervising manager would be provided with more change information and opportunities for participation in the change, and, in turn, would have more positive affective perceptions of the change in terms of trust, cynicism, uncertainty and control, and subsequently be more open to the change. Multi-group analysis was applied to data of 326 employees of two health insurance companies that were involved in a merger. The findings largely supported the research model, suggesting that middle managers can facilitate change by developing high-quality relationships with their subordinates, and addressing employees’ affective perceptions of the change through change information and change participation. Our focus on the middle managers’ relationship with their employees offers theoretical and practical insights into the affective and attitudinal processes that occur during organizational change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Change Management
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Feb 2021


  • organizational change, LMX; change appraisal; change responses; middle managers

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