Non-linear change in organizations: organization change management informed by complexity theory

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Authors: A. Styhre

Publication Year: 2002


Journal: Leadership & Organization Development Journal

Volume: 23

Issue: 6

Categories: Change, Organizational Change, Change


Organizational change processes are often modeled on a linear understanding of change in which the process is composed of individual succeeding steps. In this paper, an organization change process in a Swedish telecommunication company, TelCo., is studied from the perspective of non-linearity. Complexity theory is used in the paper as a loosely coupled framework of theories and perspectives that do not assume that social or natural systems operate in accordance with linearity. By integrating complexity theory perspectives on organization change, disruptive, fluid processes of change may be better understood. Notions such as non-linearity and complexity may thus be fruitfully integrated into the analysis of organizational change processes.