The Strategic Management of Corporate Change

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Authors: D. Dunphy, D. Stace

Publication Year: 1993


Journal: Human Relations

Volume: 46

Issue: 8

Categories: Strategy, Organizational Change


To investigate the controversy between universal and contingent approaches to corporate change, a study was undertaken of 13 service sector organizations. The study used the Dunphy/Stace contingency model of organizational change strategies, developing measures to place the organizations within the model. Results indicate that universal models of change management are inadequate to describe the diversity of approaches actually used by these organizations. In particular, the traditional Organizational Development model is unrepresentative of how change in many contemporary organizations is actually made. The traditional OD model prescribes incremental change combined with a participative management style but most organizations in the study made rapid transformative change using a directive leadership style. The OD model is also inadequate as a prescriptive model because very different change strategies, some dramatically different from OD, resulted in successful financial performance. Four case studies are presented to illustrate how each of the major contingencies in the model can operate to create effective organizational performance.