Where's the evidence? A list of research articles on change management topics.

This is an incomplete, (but always growing) list of research articles on key topics related to change management. I hope you find some nuggets in them that will enhance your change management practice. And, when someone asks you — “Where’s the evidence?” You can say, “Right here.” Your welcome!

(If you like this list, then you will really like my book, The Implementer’s Starter Kit. Download a sample here.)

Fairness and Change

Does it make a difference if we explain “why” a change is happening? Or provide information on how decisions are made? Yes — here’s the evidence.

A summary of the research from my blog: Does fairness matter in organization change?

Colquitt, J. A., Conlon, D. E., Wesson, M. J., Porter, C. O., & Ng, K. Y. (2001). Justice at the millennium: a meta-analytic review of 25 years of organizational justice research. Journal of applied psychology, 86(3), 425.

Schaubroeck, J., May, D. R., & Brown, F. W. (1994). Procedural justice explanations and employee reactions to economic hardship: A field experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(3), 455.

Organizational Change Failure Rates

Is it true that 70-90% of all change efforts fail? No…no…no…NO! — here’s the evidence.

"...whilst it is widely acknowledged that the implementation of a new strategy can be a difficult task, the true rate of implementation failure remains to be determined. Most of the estimates presented in the literature are based on evidence that is outdated, fragmentary, fragile, or just absent."

Carlos J F Cândido and Sérgio P Santos (2015). “Strategy implementation: What is the failure rate?" Journal of Management & Organization, 21, pp. 237-262.

Hughes, M. (2011). Do 70 per cent of all organizational change initiatives really fail?. Journal of Change Management, 11(4), 451-464.

Goal-Setting and Performance Management

Do goals really motivate people? (Can goals de-motivate people?) Do some goal-setting practices work better than others? Yes — here’s the evidence.

A summary of key research from my blog: So, what’s the deal with goals?

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American psychologist, 57(9), 705.

Could do better? Assessing what works in performance management. (CIPD, 2016).


Is there a right (and wrong) way to go about making organizational decisions? Yes — here’s the evidence.

Rousseau, D. M. (2018). Making evidence-based organizational decisions in an uncertain world. Organizational Dynamics, 47(3), 135-146.

Team Performance

Is it really worth it to spend time on lessons learned? Yes — if you do it right.

From my blog: Quick Take: What common practice has been found to increase team performance by 20%?

Tannenbaum, S. I., and C. P. Cerasoli. "Do Team and Individual Debriefs Enhance Performance? A Meta-Analysis." Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 55.1 (2012): 231-45. Web.

Does it matter if team members trust one another and their leader? Yes — here’s the evidence.

From my blog: Are you a trustworthy leader? Does it matter to your team’s performance?

Colquitt, Jason A., Brent A. Scott, and Jeffery A. Lepine. "Trust, trustworthiness, and trust propensity: A meta-analytic test of their unique relationships with risk taking and job performance." Journal of Applied Psychology 92.4 (2007): 909-27. Web.  Find the article here.

Mayer, R. C., J. H. Davis, and F. D. Schoorman. "An Integrative Model Of Organizational Trust." Academy of Management Review 20.3 (1995): 709-34. Web.

Jong, Bart A. De, Kurt T. Dirks, and Nicole Gillespie. “Trust and Team Performance: A Meta-analysis of Main Effects, Moderators, and Covariates.Journal of Applied Psychology 101.8 (2016): 1134-150. Web.


Almost all change efforts involve skill-building of some kind. And while change practitioners don’t need to become instructional designers, it is a good idea to understand which practices can help make your training more effective.

A research summary on training effectiveness from my friends at ScienceforWork.

Salas, E., Tannenbaum, S. I., Kraiger, K., & Smith-Jentsch, K. A. (2012). The science of training and development in organizations: What matters in practice. Psychological science in the public interest, 13(2), 74-101.