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Title: Negative emotions in change: An exploratory study of academics’ negative emotional experiences during universities’ change in Saudi Arabia and the UK
Other Titles: Negative emotions in change
Authors: Qassim, Amal
Advisors: Valsecchi, R
Slutskaya, N
Keywords: Academics perspective of change events;Academics wellbeing;Social construction theory;Western and Middle East universities;University change and its impact on workers
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: The key aim of this thesis was to investigate the emotional impact of change within higher educational institutions in Saudi Arabia and the UK. The study adopted a qualitative approach to investigate how the academic setting influences emotions, specific trigger events and the emotion management strategies of academics. The social constructionist approach provided a theoretical platform for investigating how emotions are influenced by sociocultural situations, and for understanding how each culture has its own distinctive trends relating to emotions, resulting from social practices. Using semi-structured interviews and photo-elicitation techniques, narrative interviews were carried out with a sample of 40 London and Saudi academics. Thematic analysis was used to analyse and interpret the collected data. The stories of academics revealed that negative emotions were a common response to changes within higher education; however, the main trigger events of negative emotions related to managements’ treatment of academic staff during change time. There was lack of transparency in transferring information on the change process to academics in both universities, which lead to various negative emotions such as confusion, anger, fear, indignation frustration and sadness. The study provided evidence of variation in the strategies used by both groups of academics to manage their negative emotions, ranging from personal to situational strategies, although both groups used personal rather than situational strategies most frequently. There were, however, clear differences between the academics, particularly in relation to the expression of specific emotions, which could be attributed to differences between individualistic and collectivist cultures. The study confirmed that change within university is indeed an emotional event, and the impact on academics within higher education needs to be considered by those implementing change. It is also important to note that the different negative emotions expressed by academics and their management strategies can be influenced by social and cultural norms, with organisational structure and religion playing significant roles here.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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