This article aims at reframing organizational change from a processual perspective to transcend the polarized tensions between planned and emergent approaches to change and to better align with the lived reality of practitioners. It informs the field of learning and development with fresh insights on how to broaden sensemaking repertoires of managers and employees in realizing organizational change.
To understand how change agents conceptualize organizational change at a conceptual level, this article relies on Heidegger’s three modes of being-in-the-world to identify three dominant conceptualizations of organizational change and subsequently theorizes on corresponding phenomenological qualities of sensemaking.
This article develops a theoretical scaffolding that posits the emergence of organizational change as dialectic process of three different conceptualizations of change, i.e. wayfinding logic, managerialistic logic and reflexive logic, that translate into three different phenomenological qualities of sensemaking, i.e. absorbed sensemaking, detached sensemaking and mindful sensemaking, respectively.
A processual reframing of organizational change informs learning and development scholars and practitioners in at least three ways: raising awareness of and probing underlying managerial assumptions of what change is and how change should be managed, training managers and employees to deal with sensemaking processes to effectively realize organizational change, and actively assist in developing a broader sensemaking repertoire to deal with the equivocality associated organizational change.
This processual reframing contributes to the sensemaking literature on organizational change by reframing change as a dialectic process of different underlying assumptions of change agents, and different qualities of sensemaking of change. It pinpoints to concrete actions that learning and development professionals can initiate to contribute to more effective change management practices.
Guiette, A. and Vandenbempt, K. (2020), "Reframing organizational change from a processual perspective", European Journal of Training and Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-04-2019-0062Download as .RIS
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