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Does meaning‐making help during organizational change? Development and validation of a new scale

Machteld van den Heuvel (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Evangelia Demerouti (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Bert H.J. Schreurs (Centre for Corporate Sustainability, Hogeschool‐Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)
Arnold B. Bakker (Institute of Psychology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Wilmar B. Schaufeli (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 30 October 2009

3871

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is first, to test the validity of a new scale measuring the construct of meaning‐making, defined as the ability to integrate challenging or ambiguous situations into a framework of personal meaning using conscious, value‐based reflection. Second, to explore whether meaning‐making is distinct from other personal resources (self‐efficacy, optimism, mastery, meaning in life), and coping (positive reinterpretation, acceptance). Third, to explore whether meaning‐making facilitates work engagement, willingness to change, and performance during organizational change.

Design/methodology/approach

Cross‐sectional survey‐data were collected from 238 employees in a variety of both public and private organizations.

Findings

Confirmatory factor analyses showed that meaning‐making can be distinguished from other personal resources, coping and meaning in life. Regression analyses showed that meaning‐making is positively related to in‐role performance and willingness to change, but not to work engagement, thereby partly supporting the hypotheses.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on meaning‐making that has not yet been studied empirically in organizational change settings. It shows that the new construct of psychological meaning‐making is related to valuable employee outcomes including in‐role performance and willingness to change. Meaning‐making explains variance over and above other personal resources such as self‐efficacy, optimism, mastery, coping and meaning in life.

Keywords

Citation

van den Heuvel, M., Demerouti, E., Schreurs, B.H.J., Bakker, A.B. and Schaufeli, W.B. (2009), "Does meaning‐making help during organizational change? Development and validation of a new scale", Career Development International, Vol. 14 No. 6, pp. 508-533. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620430910997277

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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