CHANGE AGENTS’ THEORETICAL BELIEFS ABOUT CHANGE: THE SYSTEMATIC DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION OF A SCALE USING VAN DE VEN AND POOLE’S TYPOLOGY OF CHANGE THEORIES
The purpose of this research was to develop a valid and reliable scale to measure higher education change agents’ implicit theoretical beliefs about organizational change. This is important in light of prior research that indicates that implicit theoretical beliefs of change agents in higher education may negatively affect the outcomes of change efforts. The only way to gain an in-depth understanding of beliefs is to assess them through valid and reliable measurement. This study fills an important gap in the empirical research literature on organizational change in higher education. It does this by taking a first step in the development of a reliable and valid scale to measure higher education change agents’ implicit theoretical beliefs about change in terms of a theoretical framework that is applicable to both higher education and organizational studies in general. The Implicit Theoretical Beliefs about Organizational Change (ITBOC) scale was developed using Spector’s (1992) well-tested method. The scale measures theoretical beliefs about change along four dimensions: life cycle organizational change beliefs, teleological organizational change beliefs, dialectical organizational change beliefs, and evolutionary organizational change beliefs. The scale construct is based on Van de Ven and Poole’s (1995) empirically based framework for classifying organizational change theories. A principal component analysis of the final scale clearly shows alignment with the four dimensions of the scale construct. The final 15-item scale has a reliability of Cronbach α = .89. Induvial subscale reliabilities are life cycle change α = .94, teleological change α = .94, dialectical change α = .86, and evolutionary change α = .77. Practitioners should consider which theoretical viewpoint they are taking for a change effort to maximize outcomes. They should also seriously consider the selection of the type of change process for a particular change effort. Further research opportunities lie in replication and enhancement of this study. Researchers should pay attention to differing implicit theoretical points of view in organizational research because they may impact the outcomes of research programs. Exploratory studies of differing implicit theoretical points of view are also recommended.
Bryant, Peter Joseph