The Patterning of Limited Structural Change

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Schwarz, Gavin M and Shulman, Arthur D (2007) The Patterning of Limited Structural Change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 20 (6). pp. 829-846. ISSN 0953-4814


Purpose – Organizational change theorists tend to focus on substantive changes and frequently ignore or underplay the significance of the features of structural inertia. The effect of this preoccupation has minimized our understanding of frequently occurring patterns of limited structural change. The purpose of this paper is to encourage theorizing and debate about limited structural change. Design/methodology/approach – This paper presents a conceptual explanation of the different patterns of limited structural change that arise in organizations undertaking change. It reviews and comments on how different patterns occur at the organization level as a result of the adjustment of component forces around pattern profiling centers of gravity. Findings – A pervasive finding in change literature is that organizations tend to fall back on more of the same, even when they undergo some major structural change. The paper proposes a framework encapsulating four competencies that synergistically complement each other as a foundation for explaining different patterns of limited structural change. Originality/value – The paper argues for advancing theory accounting for limited structural change, moving away from the dichotomy of change as normal and limited change as atypical. Normative rational change actions and bounded change actions interact and coexist in parallel. A focus on explaining limited change is a starting point for advancing our understanding of this coexistence.

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Item type Article
DOI DOI 10.1108/09534810710831046
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Law
Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Keywords ResPubID19275, organizational change, change management, organizational restructuring
Citations in Scopus 13 - View on Scopus
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