Purpose – Each time there is a government change (indeed a very frequent scenario for Italy), and the leadership team of strategic offices and operations in the public administration is usually replaced. Using the job crafting theoretical framework, the purpose of this study is to investigate how the uncertainty generated by changes in the leadership teams of public offices shapes the public managers’ coping strategies. Design/methodology/approach – This study adopts a deductive qualitative approach. Data for this study were collected through 47 interviews conducted with public managers working at the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Findings – The results of the study suggest that job crafting – a proactive approach aimed at customizing the content and nature of one’s job – represents a frequent strategy that public managers undertake, drawing on the personal and contextual resources at their disposal, to reduce perceived uncertainty associated with manager transition. Originality/value – Questions related to the positive or negative impact of managerial transitions generated conflicting opinions in the literature. The authors demonstrate that job crafting could represent a valuable strategy adopted by executive managers to cope with increasing uncertainty associated with managerial transition due to government change, especially when these strategies enable to gain valuable personal and contextual resources for managers.
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