Visions of change as visions of continuity

Merlijn Venus, D Stam, Daniel L Van Knippenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite wide consensus that leader vision is a key vehicle for leaders to motivate followers to support organizational change, it remains far from clear what characterizes an effective vision of change. Research on organizational change that has used a social identity perspective has asserted that one important reason why followers resist change is because change may pose a threat to their subjective sense of continuity of organizational identity. Accordingly, we hypothesize that leaders that communicate visions of change can address this resistance by assuring followers that the essence of the organizational identity will remain unchanged—making their vision of change also a vision of continuity. In line with our proposition that collective continuity is valued because it serves an uncertainty-reduction function, such visions should be more predictive of vision effectiveness the higher follower work-related uncertainty. Across a field study and an experimental study we find support for these predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-690
Number of pages24
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

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