Last July, Cristian Castillo (a doctoral student who I have directed) presented and defended his doctoral thesis at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech. His dissertation was excellent and he answered all questions in the right way. His research work began with the development of a master thesis on organizational justice and has ended with his doctoral thesis. During his doctoral thesis, Cristian has published two scientific papers and presented a paper at an international congress. I attach the reference of the doctoral thesis:

  • Title: Emotional states of the individual in a process of organizational change
  • PhD Candidate: Cristian Castillo
  • Supervisor: Vicenc Fernandez and Oriol Lordan
  • Place and Date: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Thursday July 27th, 2017.

Abstract:

Given the importance of knowing and anticipating employees’ reactions before organizational changes when it is perceived as negative, this Ph.D. thesis defines the individuals’ six emotional states during the organizational change so that future researchers and leaders of change have the enough knowledge and tools to address it.

We have achieved this through the two purposes of Ph.D. thesis: (1) the identification of the different emotional states through which the individual transits during a process of organizational change when it is perceived as negative and (2) the development of a simulation model that allows analyzing the emotional changes that occur in an organization.

In order to culminate the first purpose, we have followed a qualitative methodological approach and we chose the individual interviews as the main method of qualitative data collection. In this case, the sample consisted of fifteen individual participants that they have experienced an organizational change perceived as negative. As for the second purpose, we have followed the guidelines and recommendations of the literature: problem definition, data collection and configuration of model parameters, conceptual model, testing of the programmed model, and analysis of the results of the simulation.

Through empirical qualitative research, we obtained the six emotional states of organizational change: denial and anger, bargaining, depression, revising, deserting and acceptance. Related to this, the results show that individuals can move freely between the first four states, but deserting and acceptance are always the final states. Furthermore, during denial and anger and bargaining, relationships with family, friends and co-workers improve, but during depression, relationships with family and friends deteriorate, but as co-workers become much more important, those relationships improve. Relationships with supervisors deteriorate during denial and anger and depression but remain stable during bargaining. As far as the simulation proposal is concerned, this allows the study of the evolution and propagation of states considering different interaction networks simultaneously. As an example, we use the results of the first qualitative research and we apply it to the study of states propagation against the organizational change.

Our results can guide managers in foreseeing and anticipating actions that would reduce the emotional impact of organizational change and mitigate the Impact of individuals’ negative emotions on the organization. Furthermore, this Ph.D. thesis extends existing theory about the strategies of coping and organizational changes, as well as the definition of the heuristic necessary for the development of a model that it allows researchers in social sciences carry out the analysis of propagation of states in a simple and efficient way.