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Champions, Converts, Doubters, and Defectors: The impact of Shifting Perceptions on Momentum for Change

Champions, Converts, Doubters, and Defectors

Karen Jansen, Abbie Shipp

Maintaining momentum is a key influence on the ultimate success of large-scale change. In this paper, we develop theory to explain how stable vs. shifting change-supportive perceptions over time differentially influence the perceived momentum associated with goal-directed change (i.e., change-based momentum).

We use cross-level polynomial regression and data obtained early and one year later within an organization implementing a lean manufacturing transformation to model changes in individual perceptions.

Results suggest that momentum perceptions are higher for “Champions” (stable and high perceptions over time) as compared to “Converts” (increasing perceptions over time), but momentum perceptions are lower for “Defectors” (decreasing perceptions over time) as compared to “Doubters” (stable and low perceptions over time).

We find that even if participants converge upon change-supportive perceptions later in the change process, early divergent perceptions influence subsequent momentum for the change. These findings highlight the important role of temporal shifts in perceptions for organizational change processes.

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Updated:   18 February 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Dean, Business & Economics / Page Contact:  College Web Team