This study compares individual (i.e., readiness to change and locus of control) and organizational aspects of change (i.e., participation in decision making and risk-taking reward orientation) in Belgian public and private sector organizations. This empirical research is based on perceptions of 930 managers and 629 employees collected through a questionnaire survey from a variety of public (n = 35) and private sector organizations (n = 21). In total 1,559 responses were collected from the private (n = 827) and the public sector (n = 732). The hypotheses tested were that, in the public sector people report (a) a lower level of readiness to change (i.e., emotional involvement and commitment to change), (b) a lower level of internal locus of control, (c) a lower risk-taking reward orientation, and (d) a higher level of participation in decision-making in comparison to the private sector. Two-way analyses of variance, private versus public and managerial versus non-managerial position of respondents, were performed. Results yielded significant main effects for sector on locus of control, risk-taking reward orientation and readiness to change, and contribute to the debate on similarities and differences between public and private sector management. Some main effects can not be interpreted in a straightforward manner, since significant interaction effects were observed between sector and hierarchical position for locus of control, risk-taking reward orientation, commitment to change, and emotional involvement. In brief, the hierarchical position of respondents is an important moderator variable that helps to explain differences between both sectors. To conclude, the findings of this inquiry have noteworthy theoretical and managerial implications that are discussed throughout this paper. Key words: readiness to change, locus of control, participation in decision making, risk-taking reward orientation, public and private sector comparison.
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