Research in Organizational Change and Development: Volume 27

Cover of Research in Organizational Change and Development
Subject:

Table of contents

(10 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xii
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Abstract

This chapter informs current research and practice in organization development and change (ODC) with an actionable knowledge of the social science philosophies. It adds value to the scholarship of ODC by charting the progression of philosophies of social science, by showing how researchers in ODC structure their inquiry based on the inherent philosophical dimensions, and by offering useful and actionable knowledge for research and practice. The aim of the chapter is to reflect on the practice of ODC as a social science and to consolidate its social science philosophies so to provide solid philosophical and methodological foundations for the field.

Abstract

In this chapter, we assume the following: (1) the root cause of most organizational problems is culture and leadership, (2) executives seldom want to deal with these root causes, (3) because life is uncertain, organizational change is an emergent process, (4) most change processes unfold by reconstructing social reality, (5) the change process is inherently relational, (6) effective change efforts are enhanced by increasing the virtue of the actors, (7) change is embedded in the learning that flows from high-quality relationships, and (8) change agents may have to transcend conventional, economic exchange norms in order to demonstrate integrity and to build trust and openness. Drawing on the field of positive organizational scholarship, we focus on the change agent. We review the literature on self-change and offer several paths for becoming a positive leader.

Abstract

The presence and practice of individual and organizational humility has the power to enable organizational growth and change. Humility drives behaviors associated with learning and the ability to embrace the value of existing mental models while valuing the insights offered by new perspectives and approaches. This paradox-savvy practice, observed in humble individuals and organizations, allows them to appropriately value what is working about the existing system while simultaneously embracing the need for change. Our research finds humble behaviors emerging within psychologically safe environments that foster an attitude of inquiry, kinship, extraordinary collaboration, and professional excellence. Humble behaviors, at every organizational level, appear to enhance both individual and group capabilities that drive long term strategic advantage. Five capabilities were identified in our research: diverse networks, shared values, flexibility and adaptability, judgment and decision-making, and organizational learning. We bring these concepts to life by synthesizing established and emerging research, as well as diving deeply into an empirical case study that leverages humble practices in order to effectively drive organizational change. We argue that humility can impact organizing at all levels (individuals, leaders, followers, teams, executives, and organizations) and in so doing create the conditions in which sustainable organizational change can flourish.

Abstract

This chapter presents a case study involving a socio-economic Organizational Development (OD) project carried out in a European subsidiary of a large multinational corporation traded on the New York Stock Exchange. This research case study, one of the 1,854 socio-economic interventions undertaken by the ISEOR research center, was chosen for its good illustration of the OD engineering process. It connects the dots between OD and financial performance, between immediate results and the creation of potential. We look at some of the tools and methods, such as overhauling loss and profit accounts and balance sheets with an eye on socio-economic balance, to illustrate socioeconomic tools at work and how they help enhance compatibility between the objectives of all stakeholders, including shareholders. With this case study, we also set out to provide food for thought on the contribution of socio-economic OD to the construction of socially responsible capitalism (Savall et al., 2015).

Abstract

This research contributes to understanding emotional and political challenges experienced by middle managers as they work with contradictions inherent in leading change from the middle. Focus group data from 27 such middle managers based in the UK indicate that, once they have been assigned roles and tasks for leading change, underlying dynamics and processes influence the degree to which they become capable (or unable) to shape and navigate that change. A proposed conceptual framework, illustrated by a case vignette, provides a base of existing knowledge for understanding and explaining these dynamics. We also construct a model of the key tensions that are integral to middle managers leading change. A further contribution to practice involves elaborating the importance of collaborative effort across hierarchical and vertical boundaries, despite emotional and political tensions that undermine middle managers’ roles as change agents.

Abstract

The vast majority of interventions during organizational change tend to focus on individually-held attitudes toward change. However, groups often form collective attitudes that are distinct from those held by its individual members, and organizational change often necessitates collective attitude change within teams, work units, or even the entire organization. We challenge the dominant view that collective attitudes to organizational change merely reflect an aggregation of individual attitudes by considering how and why collectively-held change attitudes are formed and activated. Drawing on social network theory, we propose an alternative approach toward an understanding of change. Acknowledging and detailing attitude formation as a social response to change – a social system of interaction among change recipients – we explain how collective attitudes to organizational change emerge. With this stance, individuals may hold broad and differing attitudes, but as a group can come together to share a collective attitude toward change. Using this approach, we explain how collective attitudes and individual attitudes are linked through top-down or bottom-up processes, or a combination of both. Developing this alternative perspective improves our understanding of how collective attitudes to change develop and evolve and enables both scholars and practitioners to better manage and influence the formation of change-supportive collective attitudes.

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to examine how leaders furthered the development of a social enterprise in response to paradoxes. Data on leadership practices were collected through interviews and observations in an Italian Healthcare network over the organization’s first two years. The data indicate that leaders addressed paradoxes in developing several critical resources by using both top-down influence and bottom-up participation. Leaders used top-down practices to further organizational development along a known path when they could leverage technical expertise or a vision to address a source of tension. Bottom-up practices, on the other hand, permitted the discovery of new paths that had not been previously identified. Leaders leveraged such responses where tensions appeared intractable. Implications for managers and organizational development and change practitioners are discussed.

Abstract

The environment in which businesses operate today is uncertain, chaotic, and changing at a more rapid pace than ever before. In this new dynamic world, current approaches to organizational design and processes are not as effective as they have been. Recent research has provided insight into organizational agility as a method to help organizations survive and thrive in these environments. A divergent body of literature is presented that explores agility, learning, and thriving. An exploratory mixed-methods study was conducted at the team level to examine the relationship between these constructs as well as their relationship to performance. Based on the results, we present a series of propositions for future research and provide an illustration of the Components of Agile and Thriving teams to be used as its foundation. The discussion serves to synthesize these initial findings and provide both implications for practice as well as theory.

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Cover of Research in Organizational Change and Development
DOI
10.1108/S0897-3016201927
Publication date
2019-07-15
Book series
Research in Organizational Change and Development
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78973-554-3
eISBN
978-1-78973-553-6
Book series ISSN
0897-3016