Organizational Anxiety: applying psychological concepts into organizational theory

Yehuda Baruch, Rod Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper seeks to present a dual‐level framework for developing change management theory, based on the concept of anxiety as an organizational phenomenon and its potential for prevention, recognition and treatment. When encountering crisis, confusion, and difficulties, both individuals and organizations can suffer from anxiety‐related problems. The paper aims to argue that organizational anxiety can be diagnosed and treated in a similar way to those of individuals.

Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual paper and examines how individual anxiety can inform analysis of organizational performance in times of change. A model of organizational anxiety is presented. Three case studies are used to examine the validity of the model. The potential for preventive and treatment strategies for organizational anxiety is examined.

Research limitations/implications: The concepts presented should be examined initially through single case study designs, but developed into the equivalent of a randomized controlled trial across a number of organizations.

Practical implications: Recognition of organizational anxiety is only advantageous if methods of prevention or treatment are possible and available. Preventive strategies include training in threat appraisal and response for senior management teams. Treatment strategies include short‐term consultancies for evaluation of threats and responses; organizational development for organizations where inappropriate responses to threats and opportunities can be recognized, and rethinking/reframing of organizations where an organizational history may be inhibiting progress or development.

Originality/value: This paper presents a new way for organizations to examine their performance in times of change, and adds significantly to the literature on organizational change management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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