The role of women as change agents in a male-dominated context: Empirical findings from the transport and mobility industry

Nienaber, Ann-Marie; Woodcook, Andree; Soares, André Escórcio; Searle, Rosalind; Tietmeyer, Jan


A variety of scholars deal with change agents’ role within change processes and highlight their relevance as role models in an organisation, but there are shortcomings.This study aims to enhance our knowledge on the role of women as change agents in analysing their perceived self-efficacy during change and their job satisfaction as job-related dimension of wellbeing.We applied a mixed-method design, conducting two studies based on data from 71 specialists – change agents – working in the transport or mobility departments of seven local authorities participating in the H2020 CIVITAS SUITS project, from six different countries, Greece, Spain, Italy, Romania, United Kingdom, and Lithuania.The first quantitative survey shows that female change agents may have to perceive higher levels of self-efficacy during organisational change to perceive similar levels of job satisfaction as men. The second qualitative study (focus groups) provides more in-depth explanations of these results. This allows us to derive managerial implications to prevent decreases in women’s well-being and strengthen their resilience and health during change.This mixed-method study highlights the role of women as change agents, driving organisational change within male-dominated transport departments of local authorities. Our results show that female change agents need extra support in managing change processes within male-dominated contexts as the transport and mobility field to avoid a decrease in their perceived job satisfaction, their well-being and herewith, their physical and mental health.

Change management; Gender; Job Satisfaction; Organisational Change; Self-Efficacy; Transport Departments

Publication type
Research article (journal)

Peer reviewed

Publication status
accepted / in press (not yet published)