Organizational change management

Wilson, David (2009). Organizational change management. In: Clegg, Stewart R. and Cooper, Cary L. eds. The SAGE handbook of organizational behavior: macro approaches, Volume 2. London: Sage, pp. 409–423.



The topic of change has been centre stage in organization theory for many years. It continues to be a central theme, exercising the minds of scholars in many disciplines as well as practitioners to try and explain both the how and the why of organizational change. To try and seek an original theory of change as a starting point for the multiple perspectives we currently embrace is something of a false trail, Each theory of change we now draw upon (see following section) is inextricably embedded in its own assumptions, constructs and contexts. Ever since humans have organized themselves into even rudimentary social groups, there have arisen concerns and debates over how to carry out tasks more effectively and efficiently. For example, early hunters experimented with different ways of trapping animals for food and tribes changed their migration patterns as new terrain, food and water supplies were discovered or heard about. Even these seemingly "obvious" changes would have been, at the time, considered major organizational chages for the tribe as new or different ways of doing things (and thinking about the world) were suggested or were assimilated into the social group. Changing hunting grounds would likely have been considered to be what we call today a "strategic change" (Wilson, 1999); that is, a big change, organization-wide in its consequences and ramifications, with associated high levels of risk if things went wrong.

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