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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2021

Zeeda Fatimah Mohamad, Mohd Zufri Mamat and Muhamad Faisal Muhamad Noor

The notion of students as change agents have widely been used in the campus sustainability literature, but very little has been done to unpack what it really means in…

Abstract

Purpose

The notion of students as change agents have widely been used in the campus sustainability literature, but very little has been done to unpack what it really means in practice. This paper aims to critically investigate university students’ perspectives on their role as a change agent for campus sustainability in the context of Malaysian universities.

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth interviews were carried out with 21 students that have been categorized as change agents through selection criteria at three leading universities in the area of campus sustainability in Malaysia. The data collected from the interviews were analysed through content-based and thematic analysis.

Findings

Findings demonstrate that students are the backbone behind the implementation of campus sustainability activities. They play the multi-faceted role of leaders, supporters and ambassadors in initiating and driving campus sustainability. The results further suggest that support and freedom to act are the empowering factors that have driven these change agents in carrying out their initiatives. However, without a position, the students’ voices are not significant.

Originality/value

This study provides deeper evidence-based insights on the notion of students as change agents and how it can be operationalized in the context of campus sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2017

Pernille Eskerod, Just Bendix Justesen and Gisela Sjøgaard

Project success requires effective and efficient cooperation between the project organization and the permanent organization in which the project takes place. The purpose…

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1039

Abstract

Purpose

Project success requires effective and efficient cooperation between the project organization and the permanent organization in which the project takes place. The purpose of this paper is to discuss potentials and pitfalls from enriching project organizations by appointing peers as formal change agents.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a literature review and a multiple-case study in which six organizations participated in an action-oriented research project. The aim for the organizations was to obtain a better health status among the employees by accomplishing an internal change project that enhanced physical activity at the workplace and in leisure time. Change agents in the form of peer health ambassadors were selected by middle management and hereafter trained by the project representatives.

Findings

The findings suggest that the selection of change agents and middle and top management support are major determinants of success within change projects. To select change agents that the employees respect and can identify with, combined with top management prioritization, is important in order for the project organization to benefit from the additional role.

Practical implications

Selecting the “wrong” change agents can jeopardize a change project, even when the project is supported by top management and the target group members at the starting point are highly motivated to change.

Originality/value

The research contributes to the understanding of project organizing by building theory on how formal peer change agents can enhance project success in change projects.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Sladjana Nørskov, Peter Kesting and John Parm Ulhøi

This paper aims to present that deliberate change is strongly associated with formal structures and top-down influence. Hierarchical configurations have been used to…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present that deliberate change is strongly associated with formal structures and top-down influence. Hierarchical configurations have been used to structure processes, overcome resistance and get things done. But is deliberate change also possible without formal structures and hierarchical influence?

Design/methodology/approach

This longitudinal, qualitative study investigates an open-source software (OSS) community named TYPO3. This case exhibits no formal hierarchical attributes. The study is based on mailing lists, interviews and observations.

Findings

The study reveals that deliberate change is indeed achievable in a non-hierarchical collaborative OSS community context. However, it presupposes the presence and active involvement of informal change agents. The paper identifies and specifies four key drivers for change agents’ influence.

Originality/value

The findings contribute to organisational analysis by providing a deeper understanding of the importance of leadership in making deliberate change possible in non-hierarchical settings. It points to the importance of “change-by-conviction”, essentially based on voluntary behaviour. This can open the door to reducing the negative side effects of deliberate change also for hierarchical organisations.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2018

Danielle A. Tucker and Stefano Cirella

In the context of organizational change, identifying, and organizing the various roles of change agents remains a challenge for practitioners and scholars alike. This…

Abstract

In the context of organizational change, identifying, and organizing the various roles of change agents remains a challenge for practitioners and scholars alike. This chapter examines how different agents can enable an effective change process. Empirical evidence from three hospitals illustrates the process of transformation and its underlying arrangements to identify agents and their roles. The findings underline the importance of designing a coherent system of agents, determining where they come from, their role during the process, and how this may change throughout the change process. Managerial choices in the cases are discussed, leading to implications for theory and practice.

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-351-3

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Book part
Publication date: 23 September 2009

Jeffrey D. Ford and Laurie W. Ford

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…

Abstract

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.

Details

Research in Organizational Change and Development
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-547-1

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Book part
Publication date: 7 June 2016

Jessica M. Blomfield, Ashlea C. Troth and Peter J. Jordan

Sustainability is an emotional issue. It is also an issue that is gaining prominence in organizational agendas. In this chapter, we outline a model to explain how…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability is an emotional issue. It is also an issue that is gaining prominence in organizational agendas. In this chapter, we outline a model to explain how employees perceive change agents working to implement sustainability initiatives in organizations. Using this model, we argue that organizational support for sustainability can influence how employees respond to sustainability messages. We further argue that the intensity of emotions that change agents display, and how appropriate those emotions are within the organizational context, will influence how employees perceive those individuals and the success of their efforts to influence green outcomes.

Research implications

We extend the Dual Threshold Model of emotions (DTM: Geddes & Callister, 2007) to assess the impact of displays of emotional intensity on achieving sustainability goals. Our model links emotional propriety to change agent success. By exploring variations of the DTM in terms of contextual factors and emotional intensity, our model elaborates on the dynamic nature of emotional thresholds.

Practical implications

Using our framework, change agents may be able to improve their influence by matching the emotional intensity of their messages to the relevant display rules for that organization. That is, change agents who are perceived to express emotion within the thresholds of propriety can enhance their success in implementing green outcomes.

Originality/value

This chapter examines sustainability initiatives at the interpersonal behavior level. We combine aspects of organizational behavior, emotion in organizations, and organizations and the natural environment to create a new model for understanding change agent success in corporate sustainability.

Details

Emotions and Organizational Governance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-998-5

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Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Yuanyuan Wu, Zhenzhong Ma and Milo Shaoqing Wang

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of middle managers in the corporate entrepreneurship process that drives new capability development. Middle managers are…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of middle managers in the corporate entrepreneurship process that drives new capability development. Middle managers are highlighted as key entrepreneurial agents because of their special position in an organization.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on existing capability development and corporate entrepreneurship literature and develops a conceptual model and research propositions that are illustrated through three examples from a Chinese private firm.

Findings

This paper contends the dual role of middle managers, both as change implementers to follow pre-set rules of an existing corporate entrepreneurship system and as change initiators to bring new rules to improve the existing system.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is conceptual in nature, advancing the understanding of middle managers’ role in corporate entrepreneurship. The paper provides directions for future empirical research.

Practical implications

The interactions between middle managers and other organizational agents are discussed in the propositions. This paper suggests the importance of empowering middle managers to facilitate changes in complex internal environments.

Originality/value

The paper provides a unique theoretical contribution by introducing the interface-based, multi-level conceptual model of corporate entrepreneurship toward new capability development.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1990

Thomas L. Case, Robert J. Vandenberg and Paul H. Meredith

A survey questionnaire was designed and distributed to samples ofinternal and external change agents which measured the extent to whichthey professed values traditionally…

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2654

Abstract

A survey questionnaire was designed and distributed to samples of internal and external change agents which measured the extent to which they professed values traditionally associated with the field of OD. The survey also included questions concerning the types of interventions utilised in the change programmes that respondents had been associated with in the previous five years as well as how these programmes had been evaluated. As predicted, external change agents were more likely to profess traditional OD values and to be associated with change programmes which included human processual interventions. Contrary to expectations, internal change agents were less likely than external change agents to be associated with the utilisation of technostructural interventions. Support was also generated for the prediction that internal change agents are more likely to carry out extensive programme evaluations.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2019

Ahmed Othman Rashwan Kholeif and Lisa Jack

This paper aims to use Stones’ strong structuration theory (SST) that combines Giddens’ duality and Archer’s analytical dualism to deal with the paradox of embedded…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to use Stones’ strong structuration theory (SST) that combines Giddens’ duality and Archer’s analytical dualism to deal with the paradox of embedded agency, focussing on resistance, in the budgeting literature. It also applies this framework to an illustrative case study that examines a failed attempt to implement performance-based budgeting (PBB) in the Egyptian Sales Tax Department (ESTD).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors have used SST as an analytical framework. Longitudinal case study data were collected from interviews, observations, discussions and documentary analysis and from publicly available reports and other media issued by the World Bank.

Findings

The SST framework identifies the circumstances in which middle managers as embedded agency have limited possibilities to change their dispositions to act and identify opportunities for emancipation in the wider social context in which they are embedded. The official explanation for the failure to implement PBB in Egypt was obstruction by middle managers. The findings of this study provide an alternative explanation to that published by the World Bank for the failure to institutionalise PBB in Egypt. It was found that the middle managers were the real supporters of PBB. Other parties and existing laws and regulations contributed to the failure of PBB.

Research limitations/implications

As a practical implication of the study, the analysis presented here offers an alternative interpretation of the failure of the Egyptian project for monitoring and evaluation to that published by the World Bank. This case and similar cases may enhance the understanding of how and when monitoring and evaluation technologies should be introduced at the global level to manage conflicts of interest between agencies and beneficiaries.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the extant management accounting literature on the use of ST in addressing the paradox of embedded agency in making or resisting structural change. It uses SST to integrate Giddens’ ST with critical realist theory, incorporating duality and dualism in a stronger model of structuration. The SST framework offers a means of analysing case studies that result from interactions and conjunctures between different groups of actors at different ontological levels. The paper also examines the issue of embedded agency in budgeting research using an illustrative case study from a developing country, Egypt.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2015

Danielle A Tucker, Jane Hendy and James Barlow

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what happens when a lack of role-sending results in ambiguous change agent roles during a large scale organisational…

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1824

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate what happens when a lack of role-sending results in ambiguous change agent roles during a large scale organisational reconfiguration. The authors consider the role of sensemaking in resolving role ambiguity of middle manager change agents and the consequences of this for organisational restructuring.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from a case study analysis of significant organisational reconfiguration across a local National Health Service Trust in the UK. Data consists of 82 interviews, complemented by analysis of over 100 documents and field notes from 51 hours of observations collected over five phases covering a three year period before, during and after the reconfiguration. An inductive qualitative analysis revealed the sensemaking processes by which ambiguity in role definition was resolved.

Findings

The data explains how change agents collectively make sense of a role in their own way, drawing on their own experiences and views as well as cues from other organisational members. The authors also identified the organisational outcomes which resulted from this freedom in sensemaking. This study demonstrates that by leaving too much flexibility in the definition of the role, agents developed their own sensemaking which was subsequently very difficult to manipulate.

Practical implications

In creating new roles, management first needs to have a realistic vision of the task and roles that their agents will perform, and second, to communicate these expectations to both those responsible for recruiting these roles and to the agents themselves.

Originality/value

Much of the focus in sensemaking research has been on the importance of change agents’ sensemaking of the change but there has been little focus on how change agents sensemake their own role in the change.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 29 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

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