When fit matters more : the effect of regulatory fit on adaptation to change

P. Petrou, E. Demerouti, M. Häfner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
639 Downloads (Pure)


Regulatory fit theory predicts that motivation and performance are enhanced when individuals pursue goals framed in a way that fits their regulatory orientation (promotion vs. prevention focus). Our aim was to test the predictions of the theory when individuals deal with change. We expected and found in three studies that regulatory fit is beneficial only when a prevention focus is involved. In Study 1, an experiment among students, prevention- but not promotion-focused participants performed better in a changed task when it was framed in fit with their regulatory orientation. In Study 2, a survey among employees experiencing organizational changes, only the fit between individual prevention (and not promotion) focus and prevention framing of the changes by the manager was associated with higher employee adaptation to changes. In Study 3, a weekly survey among employees undergoing organizational change, again only prevention regulatory fit was associated with lower employee exhaustion and higher employee work engagement. Theoretical and practical implications of applying regulatory focus theory to organizational change are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-142
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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