Organizational change: insights from Buddhism and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

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College of Business


Adaptation to change takes longer because of emotions employees experience such as discomfort, anxiety, or grief. Research suggests experiencing rather than avoiding discomfort and experiencing it within the psychological safety of nonjudgment help individuals adapt to change. However, the large literature on resistance to change suggests that avoidance is more common. This paper describes two practices that are effective at allowing for discomfort with nonjudgment, Buddhism and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and proposes that insights from these practices be used to help organizations implement change. Specifically, it is important to view suffering as inherent and accept this suffering as well as to pursue values in the midst of this discomfort using the transcendent self. Implications for the practice and study of organizational change are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion