Title: Learning to cope with stressful organisational change

Authors: Roy K. Smollan

Addresses: 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.2017.086461

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

Received: 22 Sep 2016
Accepted: 12 May 2017

Published online: 04 Sep 2017 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article