A Conservation of Resources Perspective: Responses to Ambivalence
thesisposted on 2019-08-01, 00:00 authored by Bingqing Wu
Ambivalence is a prevalent phenomenon in organizations. However, little is known about this phenomenon. The experience of ambivalence is uncomfortable, but it can lead to both good and bad outcomes. The distinguishing factor here is the response. In this dissertation, I present two studies wherein a model of response to ambivalence (RTA) was developed and tested. RTA refers to conscious efforts to reduce the intensity of ambivalence experienced. In study 1, I developed a measurement of distinct RTAs (avoidance, domination, compromise, and holism) based on the framework created by Ashforth et al. (2014). Through five rounds of data collection, I established the RTA scale psychometric properties and convergent and discriminant validity as well as its measurement utility across different frames of reference. In study 2, drawing on the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory (Hobfoll, 1989), I employed a time-lagged design to examine how resources influence people’s choice of RTA strategies and how these responses influence employee change-oriented behaviors. The results of the field study (n=265) revealed that higher availability of resources was positively associated with compromise and holism but negatively associated with avoidance and domination. Furthermore, greater compromise and holism predicted higher change-oriented behaviors. However, avoidance and domination were not associated with lower change-oriented behaviors.