Poster Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Spiraling work engagement and change appraisals: A Three-wave longitudinal study during organizational merger (#676)

Janne Kaltiainen 1 , Jukka Lipponen 2 , Mel Fugate 3 , Maria Vakola 4
  1. Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  2. University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  3. School of Management , University of South Australia, Adelane, Australia
  4. Department of Marketing and Communication, Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Creece

In this longitudinal field study, we examine reciprocal relationships between within-person changes in cognitive appraisals (threat and challenge) and work engagement 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 three waves of longitudinal survey data (N=623). Our findings showed that engagement mitigated threat appraisals and enhanced challenge appraisals through pre- and post-merger phases. A reciprocal relationship from threat appraisal to engagement was also found, such that threat fueled decreases in engagement throughout the merger. Challenge appraisal was associated with enhanced work engagement during the first merger phase. By examining the dynamic relationships over time among these critical psychological processes, this study contributes to research including change appraisals, work engagement, organizational change, and broaden-and-build theory.