Leaders’ impact on organizational change: Bridging theoretical and methodological chasms

Shaul Oreg, Yair Berson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The notions of leadership and organizational change have been closely linked and frequently discussed in tandem. Whereas we know much about leadership and change, we know relatively little about the integration of the two. Leadership is often discussed with respect to its impact on organizations in times of change, and the literature on organizational change frequently notes the roles that managers and change agents have, as change leaders. Yet, surprisingly, the impact of leaders on change has not been studied systematically. Through a comprehensive review of the literature on leadership and change we identified significant chasms across disciplines (e.g., strategy/organizational behavior), methodological approaches, and levels of analysis. We offer a conceptual framework to bridge these chasms and highlight the main processes through which leaders shape organizational change and influence its recipients. We identify key leadership functions and corresponding change processes through which leaders effectively implement changes. We also point to several directions for future investigation. In particular, we know very little about the role of leaders’ strategic choices in shaping employees’ responses to change and about the roles of context and time in moderating the effects of leaders’ actions during change.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)272-307
Number of pages36
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

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© Academy of Management Annals.


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