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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The facilitation and hindrance of personal adaptation to corporate restructuring Barbey, Dawn Henrichs


The purpose of this study was to develop a reasonably comprehensive scheme of categories that describes what facilitated and hindered adaptation to corporate restructuring. Interviews were conducted with individuals who worked in a company during reorganization and adapted. The Critical Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954) was utilized to elicit 543 incidents from 28 participants. Thirty-four categories emerged from the analysis of the reported events and were organized into five clusters. Several procedures were employed to examine the soundness and trustworthiness of the categories. The results indicate that adaptation was hindered by: enduring a negative state, receiving increased workload, experiencing negative attitudes of colleagues, termination of colleagues, destabilizing moves, encountering a demoralizing situation, removed from a position, experiencing devaluation of company, excluded from decision making, blocked from accomplishing a task, not receiving support, receiving a threat about job, experiencing estrangement, receiving disaffirmation for job competence, and vital information withheld. However, individuals can take action in four ways to facilitate adaptation. First, they can shape the work environment by: refusing exploitative requests, making a decision concerning work, discovering and adhering to a firm guideline, making a beneficial change in the work setting, accomplishing a task, experiencing a challenging task, creating a work position, creating space to work, and dissociation from a bad person. Second, they can gain support by: receiving advice, receiving personal support, receiving assurance about job, experiencing camaraderie, receiving affirmation for job competence, receiving vital information. Third, they can help others by: giving empathy, using humor, forming a relationship, looking out for others, providing practical help, securing work for others. Fourth, they can help themselves by: realization of a positive perspective, preparing for change, initiating a change outside of work, and engaging in an activity outside of work. The category system attempts to provide a reasonably comprehensive description of what helps and hinders adaptation to corporate restructuring. Such an organization of factors may be valuable in planning counsellor training programs and useful for therapists working with individuals adapting to corporate change.

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