Int. J. of Work Organisation and Emotion   »   2017 Vol.8, No.2



Title: Learning to cope with stressful organisational change


Author: Roy K. Smollan


Address: Department of Management, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006 Auckland, 1142, New Zealand


Abstract: Organisational change can exacerbate pre-existing levels of work stress and employees need to cope with the new stressors as well as the old. A qualitative study was conducted in a New Zealand healthcare authority where a number of major restructurings and other changes had occurred. The findings show that the coping strategies used before, during and after change varied over time as new demands were faced. While the choice of strategies was influenced by personality, emotional intelligence and social identity, specific stressors needed tailored coping strategies. The lessons the participants learnt from coping with stressful organisational change included relying on their own strengths, taking problem-solving action, managing their thoughts and emotions and accessing support networks. Managers have a key role to play in anticipating when organisational change may elicit stress and in helping those affected to cope with it.


Keywords: coping; emotions; healthcare; organisational change; qualitative; stress.


DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2017.10007614


Int. J. of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2017 Vol.8, No.2, pp.148 - 167


Submission date: 19 Sep 2016
Date of acceptance: 12 May 2017
Available online: 04 Sep 2017



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