The Effect of Leader–Follower Interpersonal Relations on Employees’ Attitude during Change Implementation




interpersonal relations, leader–follower, organisational change, change implementation, employees’ attitudes, strategic leadership


There are numerous guides on the “how” of strategy development, but an insignificant number of resources on the associated implementation that results in leaders assuming employees know what to do at the execution stage. In contrast, employees require positive interpersonal relations with leaders to influence positive attitudinal responses. Leaders in organisations play a pivotal role in the change process as change agents who must be well versed with what exactly is required and how it will be achieved for the benefit of the organisation, employees and other stakeholders. In this study, we explore and illuminate the effect of leader–follower interpersonal relations on employees’ attitude during change implementation. In the study, we used a qualitative phenomenological design whereby the data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 17 participants. Purposive and convenience sampling techniques were used to identify the participants. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. The main findings indicated a shift in employees’ attitudes from positive to negative owing to poor interpersonal relations, lack of trust and voiceless leadership during the implementation process. This article enriches the change implementation process by providing insights into the importance of positive work relationships in influencing employee attitudinal support for change. The study indicated that change implementation necessitates the leader’s enthusiasm, skill, knowledge and a collaborative mindset to harness the employees’ positive attitudes. The success of change implementation is premised on the leader’s mastery of the art of change at a personal and organisational level.


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How to Cite

Malambe, B., & Toendepi, J. (2023). The Effect of Leader–Follower Interpersonal Relations on Employees’ Attitude during Change Implementation. African Journal of Employee Relations, 47, 23 pages .



Received 2022-01-31
Accepted 2023-03-23
Published 2023-12-13