Ambiguity and ambivalence: organizational change in government departments
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The way in which workers and managers interpret change at work has been an important focus of interest for researchers. This interpretation may find them assimilating change as they listen to accounts from other workers experienced in the outcomes of such events. On the other hand, there may be a divergence among workers concerning the value and meaning to be ascribed to the change events. If this is the case, a culture of ambiguity may be said to exist, where the nature, degree and value of the cultural change are highly contested and remarkably unclear (McLoughlin et al;., 2005). Following Piderit (2000), this paper suggests this may explain the disparity between an individual’s expectancy of change and their response to it, and also that, individuals’ ambivalence may influence whether they accept change, adapt to it, or reject it out-of-hand, . We show how different dimensions of ambivalence in different individuals can lead not only to different responses to imposed change at work, but can also account for individuals coming to terms with the demands of change.