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Explaining employees' responses to large scale organizational change: an integrated model of key affective and cognitive factors

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journal contribution
posted on 05.06.2017, 03:22 by Paterson , Janice M., Hartel, Charmine E. J.
The organizational change literature offers recommendations about how to manage change to reduce employee resistance and avoid the potentially negative effects of downsizing. This literature suggests that change program characteristics that feature effective communication and change management procedures can increase acceptance of change and have other beneficial outcomes, but there is little agreement on the mechanisms that explain these effects. One popular explanation draws on the stress and coping literature and focuses on the role of emotions by proposing that communication about the change and procedures to implement it reduces resistance by reducing anxiety. In contrast, the justice- based approach emphasizes the role of cognitions by suggesting that the communication and procedural aspects of change programs reduce resistance by increasing the perceived fairness of the change. This paper incorporates these two explanations into a single theoretical model. Specifically, the paper develops a cognitive-affective model that integrates anxiety emotions and justice cognitions to explain the effects of change program characteristics on employees' responses to downsizing, and proposes that the strategies employees use to cope with downsizing represent acceptance and resistance to change.


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Working paper series (Monash University. Department of Management).

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