Reactions to organizational change from an individual differences perspective: A review of empirical research

Maria Vakola, Achilles Armenakis, Shaul Oreg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Introduction Previous reviews of the organizational change and development literature have focused on how organizations plan and implement changes in order to increase organizational effectiveness (see Alderfer, 1977; Armenakis and Bedeian, 1999; Faucheux, Amado, and Laurent, 1982; Friedlander and Brown, 1974; Pasmore and Fagans, 1992; Porras and Silvers, 1991; Sashkin and Burke, 1987; Weick and Quinn, 1999; Woodman, 1989). Recently Oreg, Vakola, and Armenakis (2011) pointed out the importance of understanding how individuals within organizations (i.e., change recipients) react to organizational changes. Their logic is based on the fundamental premise that the extent to which change recipients embrace an organizational change determines their explicit reactions and organizational consequences. Recent research (see Bartunek et al., 2006; Caldwell, Herold, and Fedor, 2004; Judge et al., 1999; Fugate, Kinicki, and Prussia, 2008; Oreg, 2006; Rafferty and Griffin, 2006) provides support for this premise and the growing interest in investigating change recipients’ reactions by organizational scientists. Oreg et al. (2011) surveyed the quantitative research (which investigated the role of change recipients in organizational change) for the sixty-year period between 1948 and 2007 and inductively developed a model depicting the relationships between antecedents, explicit reactions, and change consequences. In this chapter, we present and expand on part of Oreg et al.’s comprehensive analysis of quantitative research. Through this review we unravel a model of: (a) explicit reactions to change, in which these reactions are conceptualized as tridimensional attitudes; (b) reaction antecedents that comprise change recipients’ characteristics; and (c) change consequences which include work-related and personal consequences. Our chapter is organized in four sections. In the first section, we present an overarching view of the quantitative research conducted on the topic of reactions to organizational change.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Psychology of Organizational Change
Subtitle of host publicationViewing Change from the Employee's Perspective
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781139096690
ISBN (Print)9781107020092
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2013.


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