Research in Organizational Change and Development: Volume 17


Table of contents

(16 chapters)
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List of contributors

Pages vii-viii
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Pages ix-xii
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Volume 17 of Research in Organizational Change and Development is unique in several ways, not the least of which is that it ushers in a new era for both our editorial team and publisher. Abraham B. (Rami) Shani will join the editorial team, and Emerald Group Publishing Limited will be our new partner in producing this series. Both are exciting changes and represent a commitment to maintaining the high quality of work that many of you have come to expect from this publication.

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Research on organizational change and development is limited in how it addresses the processes that encompass change initiatives. In this chapter, we explore one dimension of these processes, the ways that research frames relationships between planned and emergent organizational change. We discuss five ways in which organization development (OD) research has addressed dichotomies between planned emergent change: separation, selection, integration, transcendence, and connection. We suggest that the most effective approach for considering this dichotomy is likely to be one that connects planned and emergent change over time. We further suggest that a means by which connection can usefully be created is through attention to a transient outcome of change attempts, the vitality associated with a change initiative at any moment. We present an example of how a connection frame was utilized in an extended research project. We also suggest an analytic framework and specific research methods consistent with a connection frame. In doing so, we suggest how the adoption of a connection frame by OD researchers and practitioners may lead to a more complete picture of organizational change.

Since 1973, the pharmacy operations division of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program (KPMCP) has used long-term action research programs as the principal method for orchestrating change. This chapter covers the evolution of action research theory within large, complex organizations, with particular attention to health care organizations. Four case examples from KPMCP are discussed in depth and mapped to the recently advanced Roth model of insider action research. This model considers external and internal business context, the perceived need to create new organizational capabilities, as well as insider action research theory and learning mechanisms used in change programs. Issues posed by the Roth model are explored, and new theory is advanced regarding the need for a long-term perspective, the advantages and difficulties posed when managers act as insider action researchers, and the quality of data gathering that takes place during insider action research change programs.

A work system may be said to exhibit social sustainability if it utilizes its human, social, economic, and ecological resources with responsibility. This entails using these resources in a non-exploitive way, regenerating them, and paying due attention to the needs and ambitions of its stakeholders in the short- and long-term. For most presently existing organizations attaining and maintaining sustainability requires a midcourse correction, a transformation process. This chapter reviews the main concepts regarding sustainability and previous research of organizational development in this context. It presents a four-phase model for this transformation process and illustrates the model's application in four different contexts. The results are discussed and directions for further research are presented.

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In this chapter, we offer a definition of a particular type of coaching, one focused on achieving sustained, desired change in the individual being coached. We also discuss a theory of intentional change, which we suggest explains why coaching in this manner indeed leads to sustained, desired change in individuals. We explore the coaching relationship in terms of the quality of the relationship and the competencies required by those who create that relationship. We also suggest that coaching has two faces: coaching with compassion and coaching for compliance. The latter often takes the form of trying to help someone in need. In these situations, the desire to help overcomes the knowledge that arousing motivation to change is more important than a short-term fix. We further offer that potential benefits exist in terms of the compassion one experiences from coaching others and we address the risk of not doing so. We provide a guide for the coaching process. And finally, we conclude with a discussion of the implications for future research on coaching and leadership development.

Recent research in cognitive and social psychology finds that individual change is more emotional than rational. Further evidence suggests that the contagious power of emotions explains how groups may overcome obstacles and behave in unified ways. We offer a neuropsychological model of emotion-driven change in organizations that explains these findings and predicts conditions in which contagion effects will be successful in facilitating rapid change. Our model posits that emotive precursors to conscious action enable goal alignment and overcome cognitive resource limitations necessary to sustain organizational change over time. Our model adapts the findings from social and cognitive neuroscience to bring new insights into the mental mechanisms underlying the change process. The chapter concludes with tentative suggestions for developing new methods for research and practice that improve our predictive capability for creating rapid large-scale organizational change.

As Piderit (2000) points out, much of the work on resistance to change borrows from the field of mechanics, conceptualizing resistance as a force that slows or stops motion and increases the energy and work required to alter the rate and magnitude (distance) of movement. These ideas are evident in Lewin's (1947) work on resistance in which he conceptualizes a quasi-stationary equilibrium as a dynamic balance between a field of forces driving for movement in one direction and a field of forces driving for movement in the opposite direction; movement in the equilibrium occurs only through increases and decreases in these forces.

Changes in the traditional values, institutional context, and choice of change programs are currently shaping the postmodern science and practice of organization development (OD). These changes manifest themselves in powerful new value orientations, intervention frameworks, and practices that challenge OD's long-held beliefs in ethical and justice-based treatment. In this effort, traditional and new paradigm ethical dilemmas are explored, as well as their relationship to four postmodern practices and five emergent intervention techniques. Components of distributive, procedural, and interactional justice are explained relative to change management programs generally, and to emergent techniques specifically. Published case illustrations are used to depict new paradigm ethical dilemmas and opportunities to create a “just change.”

This chapter assesses the accuracy of the assumption that organizational change research is too thematically narrow. The proposition is explored by assessing the nature of articles on change, published since 1947, in eight representative management and organization journals (n=454). Results indicate that more research on change is being published but has not lead to significantly more developed knowledge, as it increasingly relies on refinement rather than idea overthrow, and is largely made up of themes that received most of their critical attention up to a decade ago. The critique concludes by highlighting further development and career challenges for change researchers.

In the past decade internal communication began to take on a new identity as it supports the many change efforts underway in organizations today. Change communication – how internal messaging effects individual behavior change – is a key element for an organization undergoing transformation. Although research points to the need to communicate during change, very little information is available on what the outcomes are of an internal communication strategy that can positively influence individual behavior change during transformation. This chapter enhances current knowledge on this topic by investigating the relationship of awareness and understanding of change messages to individual behavior change through the case study examination of the intentional organizational transformation experienced in a large, consumer packaged goods (CPG) company.

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Jean M. Bartunek is the Robert A. and Evelyn J. Ferris chair and professor of organization studies at Boston College as well as a Fellow (since 1999) and a past president (2001–2002) of the Academy of Management. Her Ph.D. in social and organizational psychology is from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her substantive research interests focus on organizational change, conflict associated with it, and organizational cognition, and her methodological interests center around ways that external researchers can collaborate with insider members of a setting to study the setting. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and on the editorial boards of multiple other journals. She has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and 5 ([co]authored or co-edited) books.

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Research in Organizational Change and Development
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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