Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Kumi Ishii, Ph.D. (Director); Holly Payne, Ph.D.; Carl Kell, Ph.D.

Degree Program

Department of Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The current study fills a gap in the communication and management literature by providing additional insight regarding the effective communication strategies used by church leaders during organizational change. The researcher sought to find out how beliefs held by church members predicted their receptivity to change and their intent to leave their organization. Participants from diverse church denominations (N = 208) completed an online survey questionnaire asking them to think about a particular change they had experienced in their current or former church. The results of statistical analysis showed: (a) Church members´ beliefs regarding discrepancy, efficacy, principal support, and valence, positively predicted their receptivity to change, and negatively predicted their intention to leave the organization; (b) beliefs regarding valence were the most relevant for church members to become receptive towards change, and for them to stay in their church during organizational change; (c) among the trust dimensions, benevolence acted as a mediator in the relationship of principal support and valence with intent to leave. This study provides some evidence regarding organizational change in a volunteerbased church context. Practical applications are discussed for church leaders who are implementing change in their congregation. Additionally, future directions are proposed.


Communication | Organizational Communication