A case study in organisational change: implications for theory

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Authors: L. Nelson

Publication Year: 2003

Source: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/09696470310457478

Journal: The Learning Organization

Volume: 10

Issue: 1

Categories: Organizational Change, Change


Organisational change is typically conceptualised as moving from the status quo to a new, desired, configuration to better match the environment. Change could, therefore, be seen as a departure from the norm, or alternatively as normal and simply a natural response to environmental and internal conditions. Static models of organisations are being displaced by dynamic models, which reflect the discontinuous nature of organisational change. Developments in theory suggest limitations to contingency approaches, which carry the assumptions of static models of change. Analysis of this case at PowerCo in Australia reveals a number of issues related to changes aimed at achieving a more commercial, profit‐oriented, focus. Points out that the contextualist approach is holistic, in which these aspects interact with each other as change unfolds temporally. A contextualist framework permits models of change to be visualised as dynamic rather than static, having a temporal setting which has multiple causes acting as loops rather than simple lines. This enables change to be understood as a discontinuous phenomenon having the benefits, without the limitations, of rational contingency models.