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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2020

The purpose of this study is to develop a meta-model for organisational change based on a literature review across organisational theories, specific theories about…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to develop a meta-model for organisational change based on a literature review across organisational theories, specific theories about organisational change and systems theories related to theories of organisational change.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on an extensive literature review for the period 1972–2012 which covers organisational theories, systems theories relating to organisational change theories, and specific theories of organisational change. It used the Social Sciences Citation Index using as search items change, transformation, organization[al] model, theory, systems, and combinations of these terms. The research is based on an extensive literature review for the period 1972–2012 which covers organisational theories, systems theories relating to organisational change theories, and specific theories of organisational change. It used the Social Sciences Citation Index using as search items change, transformation, organization[al] model, theory, systems, and combinations of these terms.

Findings

The meta-model is constructed as a complex systems model including the four discourses and their process elements. As each discourse provides specific and different insights into how organisational change occurs, we can widen our field of view on change by switching between different discourses. This also allows a holistic rather than the reductionist methods of other approaches.

Practical implications

The meta-model makes it possible to look at organisational change from a variety of angles. Structural, cultural, behavioral and strategic change can be looked at from four different dimensions. It allows for insights from the different discourses to be drawn upon, as each of which have their merits but also their own limitations. By going beyond the normative discourse, it provides for a model of organisational change that better reflects the complexity of change in real life settings and captures the complexity of the research literature.

Originality/value

The paper seeks to demonstrate that a systems model of change is better able to capture the complex nature of change than are linear models. Synthesizing this literature has been undertaken previously but this has usually been done with linear models of change which have produced limited results.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

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Book part
Publication date: 1 July 2014

Alexandra E. MacDougall, John E. Baur, Milorad M. Novicevic and M. Ronald Buckley

On many occasions, organizational science research has been referred to as fragmented and disjointed, resulting in a literature that is, in the opinion of many, difficult…

Abstract

On many occasions, organizational science research has been referred to as fragmented and disjointed, resulting in a literature that is, in the opinion of many, difficult to navigate and comprehend. One potential explanation is that scholars have failed to comprehend that organizations are complex and intricate systems. In order to move us past this morass, we recommend that researchers extend beyond traditional rational, mechanistic, and variable-centered approaches to research and integrate a more advantageous pattern-oriented approach within their research program. Pattern-oriented methods approximate real-life phenomena by adopting a holistic, integrative approach to research wherein individual- and organizational-systems are viewed as non-decomposable organized wholes. We argue that the pattern-oriented approach has the potential to overcome a number of breakdowns faced by alternate approaches, while offering a novel and more representative lens from which to view organizational- and HRM-related issues. The proposed incorporation of the pattern-oriented approach is framed within a review and evaluation of current approaches to organizational research and is supplemented with a discussion of methodological and theoretical implications as well as potential applications of the pattern-oriented approach.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-824-2

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Book part
Publication date: 28 March 2015

C. R. (Bob) Hinings and Royston Greenwood

Philip Selznick has been a central, historical figure in the development of institutional theory. In particular his contribution in TVA and the Grass Roots and Leadership

Abstract

Philip Selznick has been a central, historical figure in the development of institutional theory. In particular his contribution in TVA and the Grass Roots and Leadership in Administration has been key. However, we put forward the relevance of Selznick’s broader portfolio of ideas, to show that they could inform institutional analysis in new ways. There are important ideas and insights that can be brought to bear on contemporary issues within institutional theory. In particular, Selznick was concerned with the ways in which organizational goals are deflected because of different interest groups. Organizations use various kinds of cooptation to deal with interest groups. Selznick’s perspective implies that institutional theorists need to be concerned with both deflection of purposes and interests. These ideas are explored further in his work, The Organizational Weapon, showing a concern with the nefarious effects of organizational practices, an avenue that institutional theory needs to explore further. Indeed, Selznick was always concerned with the consequences of institutionalization. He dealt with issues of organizational governance, purposes and interests, ideas of unanticipated as well as anticipated consequences, negative as well as positive effects of institutionalization all of which require further analysis in contemporary institutional theory. Also at the heart of Selznick’s work was an emphasis on policy and practice, coming from American pragmatist philosophy. For Selznick, knowledge is to be utilized to produce good policy and practice. Institutional theorists need to consider the applications of their knowledge.

Details

Institutions and Ideals: Philip Selznick’s Legacy for Organizational Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-726-0

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Rebecca Bednarek, Marianne W. Lewis and Jonathan Schad

Early paradox research in organization theory contained a remarkable breadth of inspirations from outside disciplines. We wanted to know more about where early scholarship…

Abstract

Early paradox research in organization theory contained a remarkable breadth of inspirations from outside disciplines. We wanted to know more about where early scholarship found inspiration to create what has since become paradox theory. To shed light on this, we engaged seminal paradox scholars in conversations: asking about their past experiences drawing from outside disciplines and their views on the future of paradox theory. These conversations surfaced several themes of past and future inspirations: (1) understanding complex phenomena; (2) drawing from related disciplines; (3) combining interdisciplinary insights; and (4) bridging discourses in organization theory. We end the piece with suggestions for future paradox research inspired by these conversations.

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Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Investigating Social Structures and Human Expression, Part B
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-187-8

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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Rebecca Bednarek, Miguel Pina e Cunha, Jonathan Schad and Wendy Smith

Over the past decades, scholars advanced foundational insights about paradox in organization theory. In this double volume, we seek to expand upon these insights through…

Abstract

Over the past decades, scholars advanced foundational insights about paradox in organization theory. In this double volume, we seek to expand upon these insights through interdisciplinary theorizing. We do so for two reasons. First, we think that now is a moment to build on those foundations toward richer, more complex insights by learning from disciplines outside of organization theory. Second, as our world increasingly faces grand challenges, scholars turn to paradox theory. Yet as the challenges become more complex, authors turn to other disciplines to ensure the requisite complexity of our own theories. To advance these goals, we invited scholars with knowledge in paradox theory to explore how these ideas could be expanded by outside disciplines. This provides a both/and opportunity for paradox theory: both learning from outside disciplines beyond existing boundaries and enriching our insights in organization scholarship. The result is an impressive collection of papers about paradox theory that draws from four outside realms – the realm of belief, the realm of physical systems, the realm of social structures, and the realm of expression. In this introduction, we expand on why paradox theory is ripe for interdisciplinary theorizing, explore the benefits of doing so, and introduce the papers in this double volume.

Details

Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Learning from Belief and Science, Part A
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-184-7

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Book part
Publication date: 25 March 2010

Frank Dobbin and Claudia Bird Schoonhoven

In 1981, W. Richard (Dick) Scott of Stanford's sociology department described a paradigmatic revolution in organizational sociology that had occurred in the preceding…

Abstract

In 1981, W. Richard (Dick) Scott of Stanford's sociology department described a paradigmatic revolution in organizational sociology that had occurred in the preceding decade. In Organizations: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems (Scott, 1981), he depicted the first wave of organizational theory as based in rational models of human action that focused on the internal dynamics of the organization. He described the second wave, found in human relations theory and early institutional theory, as based in natural social system models of human action but still focused on the internal “closed system.” A sea change occurred in organizational theory in the 1970s as several camps began to explore environmental causes of organizational behavior. The open-systems approaches that Scott sketched in 1981 were still seedlings, but all would mature. What they shared was an emphasis on relations between the organization and the world outside of it. The roots of these new paradigms can be traced to innovations of the 1960s. Contingency theorists Paul Lawrence and Jay Lorsch (1967) had argued that firms add new practices and programs largely in response to external social demands and not simply to internal functional needs. James Thompson (1967) argued that organizations come to reflect the wider environment and particularly the regulatory environment.

Details

Stanford's Organization Theory Renaissance, 1970–2000
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-930-5

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2020

Herman Aksom and Inna Tymchenko

This essay raises a concern about the trajectory that new institutionalism has been following during the last decades, namely an emphasis on heterogeneity, change and…

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1430

Abstract

Purpose

This essay raises a concern about the trajectory that new institutionalism has been following during the last decades, namely an emphasis on heterogeneity, change and agentic behavior instead of isomorphism and conformist behavior. This is a crucial issue from the perspective of the philosophy and methodology of science since a theory that admits both change and stability as a norm has less scientific weight then a theory that predicts a prevalence of passivity and isomorphism over change and strategic behavior. The former provides explanations and predictions while the latter does not.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper offers an analysis of the nature, characteristics, functions and boundaries of institutional theories in the spirit of philosophy and methodology of science literature.

Findings

The power of the former institutional theory developed by Meyer, Rowan, DiMaggio and Powell lies in its generalization, explanation and prediction of observable and unobservable phenomena: as a typical organizational theory that puts forward directional predictions, it explains and predicts the tendency for organizations to become more similar to each other over time and express less strategic and interest-driven behavior, conforming to ever-increasing institutional pressures. A theory of isomorphism makes scientific predictions while its modern advancements do not. Drawing on Popper's idea of the limit of domains of explanation and limited domains of theories we present two propositions that may direct our attention towards the strength or weakness of institutional theories with regard to their explanations of organizational processes and behavior.

Practical implications

The paper draws implications for further theory building in institutional analysis by suggesting the nature of institutional explanations and the place of institutional change in the theoretical apparatus. Once institutional theory explains the tendency of the system towards equilibrium, there is no need to explain the origins and causes of radical change per se. Institutional isomorphism theory explains and predicts how even after radical changes organizational fields will move towards isomorphism, that is, institutional equilibrium. The task is, therefore, not to explain agency and change but to show that it is natural and inevitable processes that organizational field will return to isomorphic dynamics and move towards homogenization no matter how much radical change occurred in this field.

Originality/value

The paper discusses the practical problems with instrumental utility of institutional theories. In order to be useful any theory must clearly delineate its boundaries and offer explanations and predictions and it is only the former 1977/1983 institutional theory that satisfies these requirements while modern advancements merely offer ambiguous theoretical umbrellas that escape empirical tests. For researchers therefore it is important to recognize which theory can be applied in a given limited domain of research and which one has little or no value.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2012

Adli Abouzeedan and Thomas Hedner

The impact of the e-globalization combined with staggering costs for R & D across industries has resulted in the call for new approach to innovation where openness…

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3860

Abstract

Purpose

The impact of the e-globalization combined with staggering costs for R & D across industries has resulted in the call for new approach to innovation where openness and interconnectivity is the role. This new approach is designated as “open innovation”. The new paradigm calls for the sharing of knowledge and resources in conducting innovation activities within and among organizations. As such, one needs to re-orient the structure of the organization to meet these new requirements. On the conceptual level, it becomes a significant undertake to try to grasp how our traditional understanding of the organization can be fitted within the requirements of the open innovation when the environment of the e-globalization is taken in consideration. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the question of how organization structure theories can be coupled to the open innovation paradigm. Out of that analysis the authors propose a new theoretical framework of organizational analysis that takes both the classical knowledge and the new economic context of e-globalization.

Design/methodology/approach

The contemporary period is recognized by the term “new economy”, as a replacement for the “old economy”. Another term of importance is “globalization”, which is coupled to the issue of economy categorization. Humanity launched the modern age of globalization some decades ago, but we are going through a new type of globalization, e-globalization. In the e-globalization, processes are induced basically by the impact of the new tools of communication and information technologies. These dynamic processes have forced a re-thinking of the traditional innovation practices. In the paper, the authors reflect on the changes in relation to the traditional knowledge about organization structure, using a deductive approach and textual analysis and relate that to the requirements of an open innovation paradigm. In the process, the authors introduce the basics of the “theory of internetisation dynamics” as a new potential organizational theoretical framework.

Findings

From the analysis, it was found that some traditional concepts about organization structure and organizing mechanism theories are responsive to the needs of the open paradigm settings while other theories are not. However, each of these is able to contribute to one of the five components of the theory of internetisation dynamics.

Originality/value

The authors argue that by using the correct framework for the analysis of the organizational structure, one can propose a set of strategic steps which would help the companies to re-structure. That would save time and effort for policy-makers and managers of firms, as well as researchers active in this field of organization and organizing processes, who are focused on the open innovation transformation requirements of the firms. Running this analysis would add some input into organizational re-orientation in troubled sectors such as in pharmaceutical industries.

Details

World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-5945

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1985

The librarian and researcher have to be able to uncover specific articles in their areas of interest. This Bibliography is designed to help. Volume IV, like Volume III…

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Abstract

The librarian and researcher have to be able to uncover specific articles in their areas of interest. This Bibliography is designed to help. Volume IV, like Volume III, contains features to help the reader to retrieve relevant literature from MCB University Press' considerable output. Each entry within has been indexed according to author(s) and the Fifth Edition of the SCIMP/SCAMP Thesaurus. The latter thus provides a full subject index to facilitate rapid retrieval. Each article or book is assigned its own unique number and this is used in both the subject and author index. This Volume indexes 29 journals indicating the depth, coverage and expansion of MCB's portfolio.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2019

Herman Aksom, Oksana Zhylinska and Tetiana Gaidai

This paper aims to demonstrating that the former new institutional theory of isomorphism and decoupling cannot be extended, modified or refuted as it is a closed theory

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to demonstrating that the former new institutional theory of isomorphism and decoupling cannot be extended, modified or refuted as it is a closed theory. By analyzing the structure of this former version of institutional theory and its numerous modern competitors (institutional entrepreneurship, institutional work and institutional logics theories) it is argued that these alternative theories demonstrate even less explanatory and predictive power and do not refute or extend their predecessor. The rise of new organizational theories can have no other effect on classic institutional theory than to limit the domain of its applicability. In turn, there are a number of principles and conditions that future theories should meet to be accepted as progressive advancements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a review of relevant organizational and philosophical literature on theory construction and scientific progress in organizational research and offers a set of principles and demands for those new theories that seek to challenge new institutionalism.

Findings

The authors show that the former institutional theory satisfies two main criteria that any scientific theory should conform with following it is useful and falsifiable in term of giving explanations and predictions while, at the same time, clearly specifying what can be observed and what cannot; what can happen and what is not likely to occur. Modern institutional theories cannot demonstrate this quality and they do not satisfy these criteria. Moreover, institutional isomorphism theory is a closed theory, which means it cannot be intervened with changes and modifications and all future theories should develop their theoretical propositions for other domains of applications while they should account for all empirical phenomena that institutional theory successfully explains.

Originality/value

Adopting instrumental view on organizational theories allowed reconstructing the logic and trajectory of organizational research evolution and defends its rationality and progressive nature. It is also outlined how existing dominant theory should be treated and how new theories should challenge its limitations and blind spots and which philosophical and methodological criteria should be met.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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