Associations between Leadership Style and Employee Resistance in a Healthcare Setting

Tanisha D. Garcia


Purpose: Health reform is forcing healthcare administrators to make rapid changes. A tendency to resist change can present problems for the leaders of health care organizations, including the large, not-for profit Catholic healthcare systems. The transformational leadership style has been shown to be positively correlated with change however, the relationship among leadership styles, employees’ behaviors, and motivation to change are still not well understood and require further study. Further, although Oreg’s Resistance to Change (RTC) approach has been researched in direct patient care areas, RTC research in non-patient settings is lacking.

Methods: This study focused on the relationship of transformational leadership to RTC and if the relationships leaders’ have with subordinates’ influence change. A customized survey that included the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, RTC, and Leader Member Exchange (LMX 7) was emailed to 500 random individuals of various ages and races from three non-patient areas. Thirty leaders (included directors and managers) and 133 raters (those under the direction of a director or manager) responded.

Results: The regression analysis showed a strong correlation between transformational leadership and RTC. Additionally, each of the variables from the LMX 7 section of the survey showed associations indicating the relationship leaders develop with their subordinates and leader transformational scores were positive.

Conclusion: This study may contribute to the awareness of RTC and utilizing transformational leadership style to move change in a positive direction for a healthcare setting.

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