Managing the emotional experience of organisational change
The experience of change brings with it contradictions and it is fair to say that the human
relationship with change is a tumultuous one. Humans crave stability, security and a
certain predictability and the word 'change' in itself can induce anxiety (Clarkson, 1995).
Fineman (1993: 220) goes so far as to suggest that "change can touch some of the most
enduring concerns of human beings". Yet, paradoxically, our survival as a species results
from our adaptability and flexibility (Fineman & Mangham, 1987). So, how is this paradox
experienced? Eby ef al. (2000) consider the role of chaos theory in explaining how
change can be normalised and that order and change should be accepted as coexisting
realities. The challenge is to balance the needs for order and chaos to ensure the best
outcome at the level of the individual and wider society. This is also true for change at the
organisational level which presents further challenges.
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