Adapting to change: The value of change information and meaning-making

Machteld Van den Heuvel, Evangelia Demerouti, Arnold B. Bakker, Wilmar B. Schaufeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this 3-wave study is to examine the micro process of how employees adapt to change over time. We combined Conservation of Resources theory with insights from the organizational change literature to study employees in a Dutch police district undergoing reorganization. A model was tested where employee adaptability, operationalized by the presence of resources, predicts individual adaptive attitudes as well as adaptive behavior over time. Change information was included as a contextual change resource and meaning-making as a personal change resource. The research design allowed for examining longitudinal relationships by capturing data (1) before (Time 1), (2) during (Time 2), and (3) after change implementation (Time 3). We expected adaptability before and during change implementation to predict adaptive attitudes and adaptive behavior (both during and after change implementation). In addition, different indirect effects were tested. Structural equation modeling analyses supported most of the hypothesized relationships between resources and outcomes, although relationships differed from T1 to T2 and from T2 to T3. T1 change information triggered T2 meaning-making which translated into T3 adaptive behavior. The relevance of meaning-making and change information as important predictors of adaptive behavior is emphasized. Implications of these longitudinal findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-21
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Volume83
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adaptability
  • Adaptive attitudes
  • Adaptive behavior
  • Change information
  • Meaning-making
  • Organisational change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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