Feelings of Attachment and Grief in Organizational Change Processes

Ana Maria Roux Valentini Coelho Cesar


Globalization, technology and social changes have contributed to the emerging of new markets and competitors, resulting in higher competitive environments. As a counterpoint, people are requested to be more flexible in adapting to constant changes, and minimizing the attachment to past situations. The ruptures required in changes can be perceived as a symbolic death, because of its irreversible condition to past situations; this generates bereavement among the people who are involved. From an ethological approach regarding bereavement, this study analyses the existence of bereavement amongst 400 employees of a public bank after a big reengineering process. The study was carried out three years after the changes occurred, since after this period of time the feeling of bereavement and grief should have given place to the recovering process, with a predominance of states of positive spirit. The data suggests the existence of a pathological state of bereavement, with strong attachment to previous situations to change. It points out that it is not enough to prepare people to organizational changes that are coming and are inevitable. It is necessary to give them conditions so they can elaborate the feeling of grief in situations that already happened and were part of their lives. It is necessary to give them the opportunity to ‘say goodbye’ to past things, so that they can embrace the new ones.

Key-words: Organizational change. Attachment and grief. Changing situations.


Organizational change. Attachment and grief. Changing situations.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7819/rbgn.v8i21.56

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