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Title: Instigating transformational changes : an interdisciplinary approach based on the appraisal theories of emotion
Author: Kitsos, Evangelos
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 759X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Recent research has questioned the commonly accepted notion that transformational changes are instigated when compelling evidence establishes a clear sense of urgency for action. Following these intriguing results, this thesis set out to investigate why some leaders avoid taking action even when a crisis is threatening their systems. For that reason, a sophisticated interdisciplinary approach was designed, which allowed insights from the discipline of psychology and the study field of management to be reviewed and meta-synthesized into a conceptual framework that expands the myopic paradigm of urgency and thereby elaborates the process of change instigation. The findings suggest that once a crisis is faced, leaders engage in an emotional change process during which the compelling evidence is appraised in reference to business goals and ego-commitments. These appraisals give rise to negative emotions as they inform the individual of the encountered threat. As a result, a self-protective regulatory mechanism is triggered, the operations of which determine the future of subsequent appraisals and thus the response to be adopted. That is, action might be taken to secure business continuation (adaptive), or the leader could trigger defence mechanisms (maladaptive) and thus respond in ways which might go against organizational interests, but protect the threatened ego. Although the theorization has not yet been empirically validated, the thesis bears significant contributions to knowledge. It demonstrates that urgency a) is a necessary yet insufficient element of the emotional change process; b) provides a superficial explanation of how transformations are instigated. Its logic is grounded in the outdated assumption that human beings are purely cognitive, cold and rational processors of information. Instead, the suggested framework emphasizes the important role that the unconscious hot cognitions and the emotional experiences play. Ultimately, through the analysis of more than 1200 multi domain sources, this theorization provides a viable alternative to the current urgency paradigm. It facilitates the diagnosis of defensive appraisals and paves the way for the development of tools to assist the agents of change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: State Scholarships Foundation (IKY)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management