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Two contrasting theories of change: Theory E and Theory O

The Antidote

ISSN: 1363-8483

Article publication date: 1 December 2000


Proclaims that the hard approach (referred to here as theory E) is the creation of economic value/high returns to shareholders; and that the soft approach (theory O) sees organizations as having many stakeholders, developing employees and their loyalty. Posits that, for organizations to prosper, eventually, theory E must be joined with theory O. Uses an inset with some arguments about change. Gives an example of Asda trying to combine Theories E and O, although, because Wal‐Mart bought Asda in 1999 for eight times its 1991 value, the Asda case could not be tracked over time.



Kippenberger, T. (2000), "Two contrasting theories of change: Theory E and Theory O", The Antidote, Vol. 5 No. 7, pp. 17-21.




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