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). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Health Psychology
ISSN1076-8998
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5144 Social psychology

Cite this

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title = "Spiraling work engagement and change appraisals: A three-wave longitudinal study during organizational change",
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). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)",
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Spiraling work engagement and change appraisals : A three-wave longitudinal study during organizational change. / Kaltiainen, Janne; Lipponen, Jukka; Fugate, Mel; Vakola, Maria.

In: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 08.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Kaltiainen, Janne

AU - Lipponen, Jukka

AU - Fugate, Mel

AU - Vakola, Maria

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N2 - 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). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

AB - 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). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

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