Public management research has paid little attention to the implementation processes through which public organizations implement cutbacks. In this study, we examine how the implementation of cutbacks is related to employees’ organizational commitment and work engagement in the Dutch public sector, and to what extent the use of change management practices may mitigate a negative relationship between cutbacks and these factors. The analysis of 6,066 employees indicates that cutbacks are negatively related to employee attitudes regarding their membership in their organization (organizational commitment), but not to attitudes regarding their work (work engagement). Moreover, although change management practices are only moderately applied in the implementation of cutbacks, the analysis indicates that these may partly alleviate the negative relationship between cutbacks and organizational commitment. The evidence presented in this study thus indicates that more attention should be given to the processes through which budget cutbacks are implemented in public organizations.

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American Review of Public Administration
Erasmus University Rotterdam

van der Voet, J., & Vermeeren, B. (2017). Change Management in Hard Times. American Review of Public Administration, 47(2), 230–252. doi:10.1177/0275074015625828