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Personal Values and Conflicting Motivational Forces in the Context of Imposed Change


  • Both authors contributed equally to this work.
    This research was partially funded by a scholarship granted to the first author by The Open University of Israel Research Fund. We thank Lilach Sagiv, Sandra Ohly, and three anonymous reviewers for their very insightful and helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.

concerning this article should be addressed to Noga Sverdlik, Department of Education and Psychology, The Open University of Israel, The Dorothy de Rothschild Campus, 108 Ravutski Street, P. O. Box 808, Raanana, 43107, Israel. E-mail: or Shaul Oreg, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa, 31905, Israel. E-mail:


ABSTRACT Internal motivational conflicts that arise in the context of imposed change were investigated through a personal values perspective. It is suggested that in the context of imposed change different aspects of the same value dimension will tend to come in conflict. As demonstrated in two studies, this conflict is manifested in what at a surface level appears as a weak relationship between values and reaction to the change. In Study 1, a field study of 107 employees, individuals' dispositional resistance to change was controlled to disentangle the conflicting forces that employees experienced in response to a campus relocation. In Study 2, a laboratory study of 128 undergraduates, in addition to replicating the results of Study 1, the different motivational dynamics that exist in voluntary versus imposed change situations were demonstrated.