Research in Organizational Change and Development: Volume 15


Table of contents

(12 chapters)


Pages V-VI
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New ways of managing change have run aground on the uncritical acceptance of a limited view of temporality, identified here as causal-time. Because it emphasizes identity and state-transitions, causal-time is inherently static and past-centered. An alternative view, called flow-time, emphasizes the dynamic of the always arriving future. The claim is made that a future-centered temporality gives access to the knowledge change agents need to cope with accelerating and ongoing change.

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“Change or perish” has become a corporate mantra (Abrahamson, 2000). What happens when change becomes excessive? We define excessive change as when organizations pursue several seemingly unrelated and perhaps conflicting changes simultaneously, or when organizations introduce new changes before previous changes have been completed. When change is perceived as excessive, organizational members react in various ways. In this paper we draw on existing literature in strategy and management to theoretically develop the phenomenon of excessive change, ways of coping with excessive change, and organizational consequences of excessive change. Implications include how excessive change can be managed as well as suggestions for future research.

This chapter develops a framework for classifying approaches to conceptualizing and measuring implementation of innovations. It first develops a typology that distinguishes rollout, modification, programmatic and transformation conceptualizations of implementation. The implications of each conceptualization for measurement of implementation are discussed. Following this a classification scheme for implementation measures is presented that distinguishes measures on the basis of their: (a) criterion for success of the implementation; (b) innovation unit; (c) source of data; (d) measurement scale; and (e) level of analysis. Issues related to various measurement choices are discussed along with recommendations for future research and development in the measurement of implementation.

Developing structures and processes that support learning and knowledge creation has become an area of extensive study. This paper describes dimensions of knowledge that were needed in integrating theory and practice for an applied research project. The project involved team members from university, business and consulting organizations. The knowledge created through this team structure was inherently multi-dimensional, with theoretical, practicable, educable and evidentiary components. The paper concludes with considerations for how the essence of this project team structure might be replicated for organizational knowledge creation in American industry.

Complexity theorists propose that organizations are made up of complex responsive processes in which people create and recreate organizational forms through dynamic micro-level interactions. Social constructionists add that conversations are the means by which these interactions occur. Our analysis illustrates how the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) engaged a wide range of stakeholders in a successful dialogue process to recreate a new system for monitoring nuclear reactors. The success was due, in large part, to the conversational qualities tacitly and explicitly agreed to by those involved in the process which included a spirit of freedom, inclusion, inquiry, spontaneity, and possibility. Using a grounded theory building process, we show how these qualities produced transformative change by increasing levels of interconnectivity, shared identity, and collective capacity among participants. These findings provide the beginnings of a model for understanding continuous and transformative change and demonstrate the value of engaging the “whole system” in sustained dialogue, even in complex, highly regulated environments.

The punctuated equilibrium model (PEM) is an influential model of organizational change that can both advance theory and guide managerial action. However, with the exception of Romanelli and Tushman’s (1994) study of minicomputer firms, the core assertion of the PEM – that fundamental organizational change would occur through brief, discontinuous, and simultaneous changes in all domains of organizational activity and not through incremental and asynchronous changes – has not been tested in longitudinal, large-sample research. We examined the event histories of 50 bank holding companies in the U.S. between 1975 and 1995, replicating Romanelli and Tushman’s test of the PEM in a less turbulent industry environment. Additionally, we examined the consequences of organizational transformation on subsequent firm performance, an aspect of the PEM that has seldom been studied. We found that both revolutionary and non-revolutionary change patterns were common means to accomplish organizational transformation. We also found that the installation of a new top executive not previously affiliated with the company and major shifts in the regulatory environment increased the likelihood of revolutionary transformation. Whereas severe performance declines before transformation decreased the likelihood of organizational transformation, the occurrence of revolutionary transformation did not significantly influence subsequent organizational performance.

The argument here is direct, if tentative. Thus, most available evaluative studies agree that OD applications, globally, have substantial success rates, but this seems ironic in light of the common domination of culturally relativistic views. Many observers urge the culture-boundedness of planned change which implies low OD success rates. This paper is one in a projected series of qualitative tests about whether the irony is only apparent. That is, this series proposes to test for the congruence of the basic OD normative framework with various cultural patterns that can be encountered in the global analysis of today’s organizations. A high degree of fit between the OD Work Ethic and more or less discrete ideational frameworks will help dissolve the apparent irony.

Here, the specific task involves testing the congruence of the “Confucian Work Ethic” with an OD normative framework. The latter may be viewed as the “target” against which the fit of the Confucian Work Ethic is tested in a qualitative sense. High success rates are reported for OD applications in Confucian settings, especially in Korea where Confucian ideas have a substantial prominence. Here, Confucian comparisons with the OD Ethic imply a “good fit,” which is consistent with the similarly high success rates in Korea as well as elsewhere.

Increasingly, competition is moving from inter-company rivalry to that between supply chains and networks. In the field of manufacturing, such collaboration between companies may develop into an Extended Manufacturing Enterprise (EME), a chain or network comprising all the relevant functions of the partners. EME competitiveness depends on how effective the partner companies are as innovative and knowledge creative players within dynamic, complex integrated networks. The CO-IMPROVE project explores this premise, focusing in particular, on the learning required to enhance collaborative improvement of the performance of EMEs and among researchers. The CO-IMPROVE project was undertaken in Europe through a collaborative research approach where the researchers were both managing the project and studying it at the same time. The company networks were comprised of the managers from the system integrators and their suppliers, while the researcher network was comprised of academic researchers and the system integrator managers working in outsider-insider researcher teams. This chapter identifies emergent challenges in collaboration in both settings and explores implications for such collaboration.

Appreciative Inquiry has clearly made a significant impact on the field of organization development and change. This article presents an assessment of 50 studies based on a review of more than 400 publications and papers. The article covers four sections: first, an overview of the growing significance of AI since the initial Cooperrider and Srivastva article in 1987, with a brief summary of the history, definition, awards, and chronological presentation of the growing body of AI literature. The second section presents a description of the data search process and descriptions of data categories. The third section describes the nature and extent of AI activities and results based on the review of the 50 studies. The final section includes a summary and discussion of the current state of Appreciative Inquiry.


Pages 321-327
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Ulf Bengtsson works for Motorola Inc. as an Organization Effectiveness consultant. In this role he works in the area of change acceleration, organization design, and other strategic OD initiatives. His undergraduate degree is in Organizational Communication from Cleveland State University and he earned a Masters in Management and Organizational Behavior (concentration in OD) from Benedictine University. He has done award-winning papers and presentations and has numerous publications on topics including organizational behavior, organization development, and appreciative inquiry. A Swedish citizen, he now resides in Chicago. Ulf can be reached at: C. Bluedorn (Ph.D. in sociology, University of Iowa) is the Emma S. Hibbs Distinguished Professor and the Chair of the Department of Management at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has taught and studied management and the organization sciences, first at the Pennsylvania State University, then for the last 23 years at the University of Missouri-Columbia. These efforts have produced seven major teaching awards, over 30 articles and chapters, and his recently published book, The Human Organization of Time (Stanford University Press, 2002). He has served as president of the Midwest Academy of Management, as a member of the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society’s board of directors, as a representative-at-large to the Academy of Management’s board of governors, as associate editor of Academy of Management Learning and Education, and as division chair of the Academy of Management’s Organizational Behavior Division.David Coghlan is a member of the School of Business Studies at the University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland. His research and teaching interests lie in the areas of organisation development, action research, action learning, clinical inquiry, practitioner research and doing action research in one’s own organisation. His most recent books include Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization (co-authored with Teresa Brannick, Sage, 2001), Changing Healthcare Organisations, (coauthored with Eilish Mc Auliffe, Blackhall: Dublin, 2003) and Managers Learning in Action (eds. D. Coghlan, T. Dromgoole, P. Joynt & P. Sorensen, Routledge, 2004).Paul Coughlan is Associate Professor of Operations Management at the University of Dublin, School of Business Studies, Trinity College, Ireland where, since 1993, he has researched and taught in the areas of operations management and product development. His active research interests relate to continuous improvement of practices and performance in product development and manufacturing operations. He is President of the Board of the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management, and a member of the board of the European Operations Management Association.Fariborz Damanpour received his Ph.D. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Graduate School of Management at the Rutgers University in 1985. Currently he is a professor at the Department of Management and Global Business of the Rutgers Business School, where he served as the chairperson of the management department from 1996 to 2002. Prior to his academic career, he worked as an engineer, an organizational development consultant, and the manager of a start-up unit in a large organization. His primary areas of research have been management of innovation and organization design and change. His papers have been published in several management and technology management journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, Journal of Management Studies, Management Science, Organization Studies, and Strategic Management Journal. He serves on the editorial boards of the IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, and Journal of Management Studies.Joyce Falkenberg is Professor of Strategy and Associate Dean of the School of Management at Agder University College (HiA) in Kristiansand, Norway. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1984. Her dissertation focused on strategic change and adaptation as a response to changes in the environment. Her research has continued the focus on strategic change with an emphasis on implementation. Recent work has combined this emphasis with the strategy issues of congition, strategizing, and resource based perspective. Before coming to HiA in the summer of 2003, Joyce Falkenberg was a member of the faculty at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. She taught in many international programs, including NHHs Masters of International Business; executive masters programs in Russia and Poland; and held seminars in Latvia, China, Switzerland, and Germany. Falkenberg has served on the Executive Board of the Academy of Management Business Policy Division and on the Editorial Board of the Academy of Management Review.Mary A. Ferdig Ph.D., is Director of the Sustainability Leadership Institute in Middlebury, Vermont, a research and education organization dedicated to developing leadership capacity for building a more sustainable world. Her research interests focus on leadership for sustainable organizational and social change, grounded in complexity and social constructionist perspectives. She consults with leaders in not-for-profit and business sectors as well as teaching process consultation and leadership communication in the Management and Organizational Behavior Master’s program at Benedictine University and the Public Administration and Community Services program at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. She also serves as an External Examiner in the Doctoral Program in the Complexity Management Centre, Hertfordshire University, London, U.K.Robert T. Golembiewski is Distinguished Research Professor, Emeritus at the University of Georgia, where he is part of the Public Administration program. Bob G is an internationally-active consultant in planned change, and he is the only pracademic who has won all of the major research prizes in management: the Irwin in business, Waldo Award in PA, the NASPAA Award in public policy, two McGregor awards for excellence in the application of the behavioral sciences, and the ODI Prize for global programs in planned change.

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Research in Organizational Change and Development
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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