Slawomir J Magala (Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 9 February 2015


Magala, S.J. (2015), "Editorial", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 28 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-11-2014-0207



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 28, Issue 1

By the time this editorial reaches you online and in hard copy, January 2015 will have elapsed and the Rosetta space probe will probably have been forgotten, chased away from our peripheral vision by multimedia attack upon our attention. And yet, it is hard not to open the new year’s first issue of Journal of Organizational Change Management (JOCM) without quoting the following announcement of the European Union’ s most brilliant achievement in space conquests – so far:

The Philae lander arrived at the comet aboard the Rosetta spacecraft, which left Earth in March 2004 and arrived at the comet in August 2014. The journey included a series of difficult maneuvers and a total distance of about 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km), according to ESA.

Ten years passed and 6.4 billion kilometres had been covered in order to land a human robot – remotely controlled – on a small comet. What organizational changes, large and small, what mutual adjustments of how many teams and individuals, have been necessary for this great step forward for all mankind to be successfully accomplished? The fable of a pencil, told in order to praise spontaneous emergence of cooperative order in complex societies does not suffice. Neither does the fable of a computer mouse, which resembles a stone knife in that it fits a human hand, but requires hundreds of millions of human individuals to collaborate as if led by an invisible hand. We are further than that. We can control events ten years and 6.4 billion kilometres away from here and now.

This is why the present issue opens with a batch of three papers on innovation: Melle’s and Russo-Spena’s on “Eco-innovation practices”, Exposito-Longa’s, Tomas-Miquel’s and Malina Morales’ paper on “Innovation in clusters: exploration capacity, networking intensity, and external resources” and Basile’s and Faraci’s on “Aligning management model and business model in the management innovation perspective: the role of managerial dynamic capabilities in the organizational change”.

The following two papers are more classical in that they discuss what clearly belongs to the mainstream research in organizational theory, development and change. Mellert, Scherbaum, Oliveira and Wilkes write on “Examining the relationship between organizational change and financial loss” (not a very popular issue in an age of perverse and massive M&A changes), while Johannisdottir, Olafsson and Davidsdottir focus on “Leadership role and employee acceptance of change: implementing environmental sustainability strategies within Nordic insurance companies”.

Tradition of JOCM makes us pay attention to a significant but professionally marginalized stream of qualitative and critical studies and so the next paper, by Jaynes, is devoted to “Making strategic change. A critical discourse analysis”, while the paper by Sanchez de Miguel, Lizaso, Larranga and Arrospide focuses on “Women bus drivers and organizational change”.

The issue closes with a fairly classical study by Taesung of “Diffusion of change in organizations”.

When looking back at the list of titles mentioned above, one cannot but start thinking about the immense complexity of our cooperative activities, communication patterns and increasingly fluent and reconfigurable structures, processes, subsystems and partly programmed events. Perhaps, after all, a French philosopher from California, Michel Serres, was right, when he pointed out, in his little pamphlet praising the virtues of the open and expanding constellation of communicative practices called the world wide web (actually we got used to simply talk about “the internet” as if it was a single galaxy of her own), that a new power emerges inside our powerful flows of interactions (societies) and communications (cultures). Montesquieu talked of legislative, executive and judicial powers, which should work together but as separate powers so that the balance and fairness of human societies can be safeguarded. In the past, twentieth century we have added a new wild power to this trio, namely the media power, basically press, radio and TV. What we are witnessing today is the emergence of a data power, just exposed by the early anarchists of the Wikileaks, in spite of the colonizing efforts by the Googles, the Facebooks, the Amazons, the LinkedIns and the other secret pushers of total transparency.

Be it as it may, our powers of self-reflection once again shine through the cracks in the dystopian worlds of cogs in a machine or cells in a colony resembling an anthill or a coral reef.

Slawomir Jan Magala