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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2019

Signe Bruskin

The purpose of this paper is to study the phenomenon of organizational change failure through an emic approach. Grounded in empirical examples, the paper unfolds why the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the phenomenon of organizational change failure through an emic approach. Grounded in empirical examples, the paper unfolds why the phenomenon seems to be missing from the literature of the becoming view (e.g. Tsoukas and Chia, 2002).

Design/methodology/approach

Inspired by the methodological strategy of “studying through,” organizational changes are followed through space and time within the setting of a Nordic bank, from where the empirical data have been collected via longitudinal study. The empirical data are generated through a combination of methods: shadowing, interviews, in situ observations and desk research in order to capture the ever-changing phenomenon of organizational change.

Findings

The paper finds that organizational changes drift away, either by slipping into the everyday practices of the organization, or by drifting away in time when history is reinterpreted. The paper concludes that organizational change failures suffer the same fate as organizational changes more generally and drift away in space and time.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the becoming view by illustrating how methodologically an ever-changing phenomenon such as organizational change can be studied. Further, it contributes to the field of organizational change failure by unpacking the fate of organizational change failure when change is natural and slippery in nature. The paper includes reflections on what the consequences might be for praxis.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2020

Signe Bruskin and Elisabeth Naima Mikkelsen

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether there is a link between retrospective and prospective sensemaking by analyzing metaphors of past and potential future changes.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether there is a link between retrospective and prospective sensemaking by analyzing metaphors of past and potential future changes.

Design/methodology/approach

The article draws on interview data from employees, team managers and middle managers at an IT department of a Nordic bank.

Findings

The study found that organizational members' sensemaking of changes in the past were characterized by trivializing metaphors. In contrast, future-oriented sensemaking of potential changes were characterized by emotionally charged metaphors of uncertainty, war and the End, indicating that the organizational members anticipating a gloomier future.

Research limitations/implications

These findings might be limited to the organizational context of an IT department of a bank with IT professionals having an urge for control and sharing a history of a financial sector changing dramatically the last decade.

Originality/value

This article contributes to the emerging field of future-oriented sensemaking by showing what characterize past and future-oriented sensemaking of changes at a bank. Further, the paper contributes with an empirical study unpacking how organizational members anticipate an undesired future which might not be grounded in retrospective sensemaking.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 33 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Signe Bruskin

The purpose of this paper is to explore the fluidity of the fieldwork roles “insider” and “outsider.” The paper aims to move the discussion of insiders from an a priori…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the fluidity of the fieldwork roles “insider” and “outsider.” The paper aims to move the discussion of insiders from an a priori categorized status and contribute to the literary insider–outsider debate by unfolding the micro process of how the role of an insider is shaped in situ. Grounded in empirical examples, the paper illustrates how the researcher’s role is shaped through interactions with organizational members and by context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an ethnographic study in an IT department of a Nordic bank and draws on empirical material generated through a combination of data: shadowing, interviews, observations and documents. Excerpts from fieldnotes are included to invite the reader into “the scenes” played out in the field and are analyzed in order to illustrate the shaping of roles in situ.

Findings

The study finds that, independent of the researcher’s role as sponsored by the organization, the interactions with organizational members and context determine whether the researcher is assigned a role as insider or outsider, or even both within the same context.

Originality/value

The paper contributes with a new discussion of how the roles of insiders and outsiders are fluid by discussing the shaping of the roles in situ. By drawing on relational identity theories, the paper illustrates how interactions and context influence the researcher’s role, grounded in empirical examples. In addition, the paper discusses what the assigned roles enable and constrain for the ethnographer in that particular situation.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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