Increasing Change Effectiveness: Impacts of Emotional Intelligence on Sensemaking, Sensegiving, and Resistance During Organizational Change


Franklin University Dissertation Excellence Award - Winner (Fall 2023)

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Committee Chair

Steven Martin

Committee Member

Courtney Mckim

Committee Member

Michelle Thomas


Seventy percent of organizational change initiatives fail. Yet, successful organizational change is integral to organizational growth, innovativeness, and competitiveness. Employees’ uncertainty is one of the leading causes of resistance to change. Research indicates that organizational change environments characterized by effective sensemaking and sensegiving diminish uncertainty. Research also indicates that emotions and emotion management play a critical role in employees’ processing of organizational change. This concurrent mixed methods study expands existing literature by examining the unexplored intersections between uncertainty reduction, sensemaking, sensegiving, and emotional intelligence and the implications for increasing support of organizational change. Purposive sampling was used to electronically administer the Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test to 17 participants. Then, survey respondents participated in a virtual one-on-one interview to determine their sensemaking and sensegiving engagement during an organizational change event occurring in the last three years. The study’s findings indicate that individuals with greater emotional intelligence engage more positively in sensemaking during organizational change. Similarly, the study’s findings indicate that change leaders with greater emotional intelligence are able to engage in more sufficient sensegiving with their employees during the change process. Results from the study underscore employees’ need for effective sensegiving from change leaders to help employees navigate and support the organizational change venture. The study underscores the imperative of involving employees in organizational change planning. The findings also support potential benefits of incorporating emotional intelligence training into organizations’ hiring and employee development processes.