Thoughts and Feelings About Organizational Change: A Field Test of Appraisal Theory

Mel Fugate, Spencer Harrison, Angelo J. Kinicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This longitudinal field study examines the relationships among the three focal constructs within appraisal theory-appraisal, emotion, and coping-at the beginning of change and their relationship with employee withdrawal at the end of an organizational restructuring. New theory is used to integrate past theory and research to propose and test a model containing synchronous reciprocal relationships between negative appraisal and negative emotions. Results confirmed a synchronous reciprocal relationship between negative appraisal and negative emotions, which suggests that appraisal is not a sequential process as often conceptualized and tested in the past. Negative appraisals and negative emotions also had negative relationships with control coping, which was negatively associated to intentions to quit, which in turn predicted subsequent voluntary turnover. This study thus extends appraisal theory and demonstrates it is a powerful alternative (theoretical) means for examining employee reactions to organizational change. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-437
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • appraisal theory
  • coping
  • emotions
  • employee withdrawal
  • organizational change
  • reciprocal relationships
  • synchronous effects
  • voluntary turnover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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