Spiraling work engagement and change appraisals: A three-wave longitudinal study during organizational change

Janne Kaltiainen, Jukka Lipponen, Mel Fugate, Maria Vakola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In this longitudinal field study, we examine reciprocal relationships between within-person changes in work engagement and cognitive appraisals of change (threat and challenge) across an organizational merger. Examination of these cyclical relationships provides a more accurate understanding of the complexity of employees' experience of change and a new test of spiraling work engagement and cognitive appraisals. Latent change score modeling is used to analyze 3 waves of longitudinal survey data (N = 623). Our findings showed that engagement mitigated threat appraisals and enhanced challenge appraisals through pre- and postmerger phases. A reciprocal relationship between threat appraisal and engagement was also observed, such that threat fueled decreases in engagement throughout the merger. Challenge appraisal was associated with enhanced work engagement during the first merger phase. This examination advocates managers of change to foster employees' work engagement already prior to change endeavors, along with mitigating threat appraisals throughout organizational change events. Fostering positive challenge appraisals appears to be particularly important for employees' work engagement during times of major changes. Findings suggest that upward spiral of work engagement, as postulated on the basis of the broaden-and-build theory, may be more likely to occur through engagement mitigating negative cognitions (threat) than promoting positive cognitions (challenge).

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Health Psychology
Volume25
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)244-258
Number of pages15
ISSN1076-8998
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5144 Social psychology
  • organizational change
  • work engagement
  • change appraisals
  • change recipients
  • within-person
  • LATENT CHANGE SCORE
  • POSITIVE EMOTIONS
  • BUILD THEORY
  • FEELING BAD
  • RESOURCES
  • BROADEN
  • IMPACT
  • THREAT
  • CHALLENGE
  • STRESS

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