Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial postscriptum From: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 24, Issue 6
The last issue of JOCM in 2011 belongs to the Heather Hopfl’s architectural theme of space and human activity. If I dare to throw in three more texts, it is because I would like to draw our readers’ attention to these basic types of research presented in JOCM, which the following three papers stand for.
First, a conceptual paper with two comparatively considered case studies by Barbara Czarniawska from Gothenburg in Sweden. She compares the handling of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and the accident in a coal mine Copiapo in Chile. To make a long story short, I think that she has stumbled upon a major discovery in managerial studies – namely on a fairly unexpected side effect of power struggles and hierarchic professional bureaucracies as the dominant form of organization. The unexpected effect is the – usually tacit – choice made between priorities, which are about to become dominant in the following actions. One of them she calls “performativity”. In spite of all the critical attacks on performance and performativity as the hidden weapons of managerial mass destruction of employee autonomy, she defines it as linked to effective, if not always efficient, action. Another she calls “responsibility” and – again – this priority does not fare well under her critical eye (because it serves more as an instrument of assigning blame and less as a guide to prompt and effective action). I hope to be able to devote an entire issue to the responses to her paper. This is how cutting edge in qualitative research is emerging and hers is probably one of the most interesting contributions to managerial theory since Max Boisot’s info space.
Second, an empirical paper with extremely high relevance for all of us tracing the emergent attempts to reform two largest and fastest growing professional bureaucracies in contemporary world, namely health care and education molochs. Velma Lee, Frank Ridzi, Amber W. Lo and Erman Coskun had studied changes after the introduction of the Obama-Biden health plan from the point of the team learner style. When they say, reluctantly and modestly, in their conclusions, that “results suggest that a learner ratio that favors convergers and assimilators over divergers and accommodators may be the most effective staffing strategy for change leadership teams in health environment”, I do begin to feel that the health care reform in the USA stands a chance of success, in spite of general skepticism, similar to the one which greeted Farm Security Administration under Rooseveldt’s “new deal”.
Third, an attempt at a synthesis of a cutting edge theory in managerial sciences (and it seems that complex adaptive systems approach meets this criterion) with relevance (running of public bureaucracies is increasingly subjected to critical examination, and an idea of identifying and managing collaborative networks certainly merits attention). Hence the paper by Ellen Baker, Melanie Kan and Stephen T.T. Teo on “developing a collaborative network organization” which allows us to see that a multilevel analysis and a grounded theory approach can be part and parcel of a robust research project.
Enjoy the last of 2011! Let us stay in touch in 2012!