Interpreting change as controllable: The role of network centrality and self-efficacy


Interpreting organizational change initiatives as controllable can mean the difference between achieving positive or negative outcomes. However, little is known about the factors that underpin such interpretations. This study examines how interpretations of controllability are influenced by individual centrality in social networks and change-related self-efficacy. Drawing on a sample of 148 US public school teachers facing a significant organizational transformation, our analysis reveals that change-related self-efficacy fully mediates relationships between centrality within instrumental and expressive organizational social networks and individual interpretations of change controllability. Network centrality, and the associated access to information and social support that accompany it, are theorized to provide the confidence necessary to interpret change as within one's control. Drawing upon social network theory, we provide insights into how change is interpreted as controllable, and how the nature of change may dictate which types of centrality are most important for such interpretations. Implications for the broader understanding of change are also discussed. © The Author(s) 2012.

Publication Title

Human Relations