Positive organizational change: The role of sense making and emotion regulation for adaptive performance

K. van Dam, Cornelia Niessen

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


    Purpose: Research has generally emphasized the negative impact of organizational change for employees’ change responses. The purpose of this study was to investigate the conditions (i.e. job control and team climate) that might stimulate employees’ sense making (i.e. seeing their job as a meaningful contribution to the organization) and emotion regulation, and, in turn, their adaptive performance during change.
    Design/Methodology: A total of 273 employees, in situations of organizational change, completed surveys on 2 occasions. We used a time lag of two months between our two data collections because we wanted to measure predictor variables and criteria separately in order to reduce common method bias.
    Results: Structural equation modeling showed that job control and team climate were positively related to sense making, which predicted emotion regulation. In turn, emotion regulation was a strong predictor of adaptive behaviour during the change.
    Limitations: The study is limited because of the issue of causality, and the self-reported nature of the measures.
    Implications: By providing a positive work environment, organizations may increase employees’ perception that their work matters. This sense making can serve as a positive force in times of organizational change, and can help strengthen employee adaptability to change.
    Originality/Value: Whereas much previous research had pointed at the negative outcomes of organizational change, this study focused on the positive side of change processes by showing that positive work conditions can enhance employee adaptive performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - May 2019
    Event19th EAWOP Congress: Working for the greater good: Inspiring people, designing jobs and leading organizations for a more inclusive society - Lingotto Conference Centre, Turin, Italy
    Duration: 29 May 20191 Jun 2019
    Conference number: 19


    Conference19th EAWOP Congress
    Abbreviated titleEAWOP 2019
    Internet address


    • organizational change, sensemaking, adaptive behavior, team climate, job control


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