Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Policy and Leadership

First Committee Member

Jessica Word

Second Committee Member

Christopher Stream

Third Committee Member

Stoney Alder

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Allen

Number of Pages



Resistance to organizational change by employees and management delays implementation, creates emotional stress for both, and reduces the potential savings from rapid change implementation. The delay comes from organizational members’ beliefs stuck in the status quo thus reducing the change’s potential improvement in productivity and effectiveness. If beliefs about the change could be embraced creating organizational readiness, these negative effects could be mitigated and improvements in productivity could be realized sooner.

Reducing the resistance to organizational change through the use of metaphors and a specific neuro linguistic programming pattern (NLP) is the focus of this research study. NLP was originally developed in the 1970’s at the University of California Santa Cruz to create rapid change in counseling sessions. Later, new applications of specific neuro linguistic patterns were introduced in the business arena. In the last thirty-five years limited research studies have been conducted regarding NLP. Almost none examine its application to organizational change.

Numerous studies have been done regarding narratives’ influence on people’s beliefs in public policy studies. Additionally, metaphors have been studied in the fields of persuasive communication.

The hypothesis of this study explores the use of change metaphors (narratives) and the use of a specific neuro linguistic pattern from the neuro linguistic programming (NLP) within a workshop to reduce individual resistance and improve acceptance of an organizational change. The change in the participants’ attitudes of acceptance to the organizational change was measured prior to, immediately following and 4-8 weeks following each workshop. The results of this research show the effects of using NLP metaphors and specific language patterns to change beliefs regarding a proposed organizational change through the use of a quantitative design using the ANOVA methodology.


Change Management; Metaphors; Narratives; Neuro Linguistic Programming; Organizational Change; Resistance to Change


Cognitive Psychology | Communication | Work, Economy and Organizations

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit