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Toward a Dynamic Description of the Attributes of Organizational Change

Research in Organizational Change and Development

ISBN: 978-1-78052-022-3, eISBN: 978-1-78052-023-0

Publication date: 17 July 2011


The literature on change is characterized by an opposite, dichotomist view on the subject. Many authors describe only one or some of these characteristics and attribute a normative value to it. When discussing one of these attributes they will make a deviating classification in the way in which change arises. Although types and attributes of change are largely studied in the change literature, there is no general agreement on the attributes that can best describe the different types of change. The purpose of this chapter is to try to consolidate the vast literature on the types and attributes of change in order to find a more homogeneous set of attributes.

From an extensive literature research on change articles and books from 1970 onward, eight dimensions of change attributes were found that are able to describe the characteristics of a change in a dynamic way.

In order to overcome the dichotomist view, organizational change is approached not as a process changing a system but as a system by itself. Although the borders between the change system and the system to be changed are not always easy to perceive, this view seems to create a richer picture on change. A systems approach allows to define the attributes of change in a holistic way that captures the always paradoxical state change is in.


Maes, G. and Van Hootegem, G. (2011), "Toward a Dynamic Description of the Attributes of Organizational Change", (Rami) Shani, A.B., Woodman, R.W. and Pasmore, W.A. (Ed.) Research in Organizational Change and Development (Research in Organizational Change and Development, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 191-231.



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