Ambivalence Toward Imposed Change: The Conflict Between Dispositional Resistance to Change and the Orientation Toward the Change Agent

Shaul Oreg*, Noga Sverdlik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

Following an analysis of the concept of " imposed change," we propose 2 factors that jointly contribute to an individual's experience of ambivalence to imposed change. In a secondary analysis of data (N = 172) and 2 field studies (N = 104, N = 89), we showed that individuals' personal orientation toward change interacts with their orientation toward the change agent and yields ambivalence. Specifically, among employees with a positive orientation toward the change agent (i.e., high trust in management, identification with the organization), the relationship between employees' dispositional resistance to change and ambivalence was positive. The opposite pattern emerged among employees with a negative orientation toward the change agent (Studies 2 and 3). Our findings suggest that researchers may have been misinterpreting employees' reactions to change, neglecting the possibility that some may simultaneously hold strong, yet conflicting, views about the change. By accounting for, and predicting, ambivalence, these studies provide a more accurate explanation of employees' responses to change.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)337-349
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume96
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ambivalence
  • Identification
  • Resistance to change
  • Trust

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