Continuous Change and Communication in Knowledge Management

ISBN: 978-1-80117-034-5, eISBN: 978-1-80117-033-8

Publication date: 10 June 2021


Johannessen, J.-A. (2021), "Prelims", Continuous Change and Communication in Knowledge Management, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-x.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Jon-Arild Johannessen

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Jon-Arild Johannessen

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2021

© 2021 Jon-Arild Johannessen. Published under exclusive license by Emerald Publishing Limited.

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ISBN: 978-1-80117-034-5 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-80117-033-8 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-80117-035-2 (Epub)


Foreword ix
1. Communication and strategic change leadership 3
Learning outcomes 3
Introduction 3
What is an ambidextrous organisation? 7
What does Beer’s theory of viable organisations consist of? 9
System 1. The operative level – What the organisation is designed to do 10
System 2: The coordinating system 13
System 3: here-and-now leadership – middle manager function 16
System 4: ‘an eye to the future’ 16
System 5: The overall decision-making system 21
Conclusion 22
Case study: Strategic change leadership in a Norwegian company – An example 23
What have we learned from this case study? 26
Assignments relating to the case study 27
References 28
2. Management, control and communication in strategic change leadership 33
Learning outcomes 33
Introduction 33
Management systems in strategic change leadership 36
Various types of control systems in strategic change leadership 40
A general control system in strategic change leadership 43
Indicators 46
Critical success factors 48
Conclusion 50
Case study 50
Assignment based on the case study 51
References 51
3. How can we reduce resistance to changes within organisations? 57
Learning outcomes 57
Introduction 57
Decision-making under uncertainty 58
Framing 61
Rules of thumb (heuristic assessments) 63
Anchoring 63
Availability 65
Specific measures that the leadership team can implement 67
Decision-making under uncertainty 67
Framing 67
Heuristic assessments 68
Conclusion 69
Assignments 69
References 72
4. Leadership tools to increase the motivation of knowledge workers 75
Learning outcomes 75
Introduction 75
Historical context 77
Assumptions concerning knowledge workers 77
Focus on the primary task 79
Explanation 79
Practical leadership tools. How can we focus on what the organisation is designed to do? 80
Result orientation 81
Explanation 81
Practical leadership tools. What can I contribute that makes a difference? 82
Innovation orientation 83
Explanation 83
Practical leadership tools. How to design an organisationical leadership to? 84
Recognition for knowledge-sharing 84
Explanation 84
Practical leadership tools. Information analysis 86
Self-management and self-organisation 86
Explanation 86
Practical tools for leadership. Strength analysis 88
Continuous development of skills 89
Explanation 89
Practical tools for leadership. Skills and competence analysis 91
Conclusion 92
Assignments 93
References 95
5. Communication of global change processes 103
Learning outcomes 103
Introduction 103
Infostructure 108
Modular flexibility 111
Global competence clusters 113
Conclusion 116
References 117
Chapter on concepts 123
Index 139


By knowledge management, we here mean governance, control and communication in social systems. Governance is here related to sustainable leadership. Control is linked to information processes and goal creation. Communication is related to the statement: Who says what over which channels with which effecs.

We are developing a new understanding or paradigm in knowledge management. This new paradigm is here understood as a social system perspective on knowledge processes where we consider knowledge management from an epistemological hierarchy consisting of the philosophical perspective (Johannessen, 2020a), the political economic perspective (Johannessen, 2020b), the ethical perspective, the social side of knowledge management, knowledge management and communication and various aspects of knowledge processes in the global knowledge society. With this new paradigm, we lift knowledge management from the more organisational understanding that the subject has had up to now and up to a societal level where knowledge processes in the knowledge society becomes the focus in this new paradigm.

Until now, change leadership has lacked a theoretical basis for use by leaders as a starting point when implementing change processes. The aim of this book is to fill this gap. Our theoretical framework for planned change processes takes Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model as its starting point. In addition, we refer to Prospect Theory, which was developed by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics 2002, as the theoretical basis for our strategy for reducing opposition to change within organisations.

This book is in two parts. In the first part, we consider our theoretical basis. In the second part, we describe the leadership tools we have developed for use in change processes. We have designed a leader’s toolbox. This toolbox consists of 18 leadership tools. These can be used by any leader to ensure the effective communication and implementation of planned change processes.


Johannessen, J.-A. (2020a). Knowledge management philosophy. Bingley: Emerald.

Johannessen, J.-A. (2020b). The political economy of knowledge management. Bingley: Emerald.