Upbeat or Off-the-Mark? How Work Rhythms Affect Strategic Change

Kathleen A. Stephenson, Joep P. Cornelissen, Svetlana N. Khapova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examines how organizational members cope with new work rhythms that are brought about by a strategic organizational change. Based on a two-year qualitative case study of a major strategic change in a research unit at a university that encouraged academics to embody an upbeat, energetic work rhythm, we identify four different modes of engaging with rhythms (syncing, tuning, figuring, and settling). We found that individual academics engaged rhythmically in different ways to meet this expected way of working and with discernible consequences for how they participated in the strategic change and ultimately were able to support the change, or not. Based on our study findings, we conceptualize a process model of rhythmic coping that highlights a central but often overlooked part of strategic change with significant implications for the success of a change as well as for the continued health and well-being of employees.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Management Studies published by Society for the Advancement of Management Studies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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