This paper aims to enhance understanding of organizational change by countering managerial and critical assumptions that it is possible to break with the past.
A qualitative, case study approach involving interviews with 50 staff, ten supervisors, eight deputy supervisors, four assistant managers, two departmental managers plus the IT, training and personnel managers. The paper focuses on the experiences of supervisors and deputy supervisors.
That culture cannot be so readily forgotten or reinvented as management gurus assume or critics fear. Memories are stubborn and culture is constituted through them in ways that lead to continuity and change.
Limitations leading to future research include that the study explores only one organization. Second, consultants are not used. Third, the reengineering only focus on a part of the organization. Fourth, the findings can be contrasted with an organization that is considered leading edge.
The qualitative findings provide a complex understanding of change especially in terms of how memory can serve to both facilitate and hinder change initiatives and how attempts to introduce more “informal” cultures simultaneously reproduce “formality”.
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