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Summary - Articles, notes and slides

  • 1 Introduction course (slides 1)

  • Explain the course structure.
    See image 0.

    -Lecture 1: Beer, Kotter, Porac, Thornton
    -Lecture 2: D'aunno, Rao, Marquis
    -Lecture 3: Crossan, Levinthal, Ahuja
    -Lecture 4: Weick, Ravasi, Corley
    -Lecture 5: Cornelissen, Sonenshein, Garvin
  • What is organizational change (Van de Venn & Poole)
     (important)
    An empirical observation of difference in form, quality, or state over time in an organizational entity. The entity may be a job, work group, organizational strategy, programme, product or the overall organization.
  • In the definition of organizational change a difference in form, quality or state is the key. Define those three concepts:
    1 Form = a particular way in which a thing exists or appears
    2 Quality = a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something
    3 State = the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time
  • Organizational change on the business system level, organizational structure (firm's anatomy), organizational processes (firm's physiology), organizational culture (firm's psychology) and organizational members (firm's cells). They all influence each other (in)directly.
  • What is meant with the context of change?
    Forces or conditions existing in an organization's external and internal environments. External is f.e. governmental regulation, technological advances, institutional forces that shape the marketplace competition. Internal is f.e. the degree of specialization or work specificity required by existing technology, level of organizational slack and experiences with previous changes.
  • What is meant with the process of change?
    Generally addresses actions undertaken during the enactment of an intended change, taking place at the external environment, firm and individual levels.
  • What is meant with strategy?
    Planning the strategic implementation of change while devising specific tasks, monitoring, and enforcement at various levels.
  • What is meant with the outcomes of change?
    Concerns the nature of criterion variables commonly assessed as outcomes of change (f.e. survival/profitability and affective/behavioral criteria)
  • A lot of changes fail, why? Fail to change in the first place, because of... (3)
    1 Fixed routines and mindsets
    2 Fear of uncertainty and risk
    3 Little environmental scanning (no openness to change or mindfulness during changing circumstances)
  • Why do changes fail? Failure of realizing planned change because... (4)
    1 Following short-term fashions
    2 Underestimating change
    3 Rush through (pace and timing)
    4 Not systematically working through change program
  • Name /explain three other phenomena that make change fail:
    1 Groupthink (Porac)
    2 Hot stove effect (cat jumps on a hot stove: never jumps again, also not when it's cold: that's not good)
    3 Competency trap: learning encourages people to stick to and improve skills they already have, rather than spending time and effort gaining new skills.
  • Summarize why changes fail (5)
    1 Failure to change in the first place (f.e. fixed routines/mindsets)
    2 Failure of realizing planned change (f.e. rush through)
    3 Group think
    4 Hot-stove effect
    5 Competency trap
  • 2 Beer: Cracking the code of change

  • Business change either quickly to create economic shareholder value, OR patentiently develop an open, trusting, corporate culture long term. Most change initiatives fail. Why is that according to Beer?
    Manager's rush to change their organizations, they lose focus. Too many advice available online etc. To improve the odds of success, executives must understand the nature and process of corporate change: they need to crack the code of change.
  • All the changes are unique, but Beer suggests that there are two archetypes/theories of change. Those archetypes are based on very different and often unconscious assumptions by senior executives about why and how changes should be made. Explain the 2 theories.
    -Theory E: change based on economic value.
    -Theory O: change based on organizational capability.
  • Explain Theory E of Beer: change based on economic value?
    In this hard approach to change, shareholder value is the only legitimate measure of corporate success. Change usually involve heavy use of economic incentives, drastic layoffs, downsizing, and restructuring. E change strategies are more common than O strategies among US companies.
  • Explain Theory O of Beer: change based on organizational capability?
    Theory O managers believe that if they were to focus exclusively on the price of their stock, they might harm the organization. In this soft approach, the goal is to develop corporate culture and human capability through individual and organizational learning (changing - feedback - reflecting - further changing). US O theory companies typically have strong, long-held, commitment-based psychological contract with their employees.
  • Most studied companies have used a mix of O and E theory. The tension between those theories can be solved so that business can satisfy their shareholders while building viable institutions. Those companies are more likely to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. What does Beer explore?
    How one company successfully resolved the tensions between E and O strategies. But first the two theories are explained and described what their differences are.
  • To understand how sharply E and O differ, Beer compares them along several key dimensions of corporate change. Which 6 dimensions and explain the differences:
    Goals, leadership, focus, process, reward system, and use of consultants. See image 1 for the differences.
  • According to Beer both theories have their limitations. Which one?
    -E: CEOs distance themselves from their employees to ease their own pain and guilt. (Less chance to adopt O-style changes, fail to invest in building companies human resources, which hollows out the company and reduces sustained performance)
    -O: CEOs loyalty and commitment to their employees can prevent them from making tough decisions (they hope that rising productivity will improve the situations, but this isn't enough for fundamental structural change).
  • How can a company adapt, survive, and prosper over the years according to Beer?
    Theory E and O must be combined. But melding E and O can bring the worst of them and the benefits of neither. Options to combine them are to sequence them (f.e. first E, then O, while it is unlikely that E would follow O, because of the sense of betrayal that would involve. ). In this way rapid improvements in economic value can be achieved, while simultaneously an open, trusting corporate culture can be developed. 
  • What does it require according to Beer to apply E and O together?
    Great will, skill and wisdom. But precisely because it is more difficult than mere sequencing, the simultaneous use of O and E is more likely to be a source of sustainable competitive advantage. The third row in image 1 shows how E and O can be combined according to the ASDA case.
  • Beer compares the two ways of changing with two kinds of entrepreneurs, how?
    "E" entrepreneurs have a primary goals to prepare for a cash-out. "O" entrepreneurs are driven by an ideology: the building of an institution. 
  • To thrive and adapt in the new economy, companies must simultaneously build up their corporate cultures and enhance shareholder value: the O and E theories of changes mus be in perfect step. What are the advantages according to Beer of this?
    In the end, the integration of E and O created major change. Which results in a sustained advantage. but that advantage can come only from a constant willingness and ability to develop organizations for the long term combined with a constant monitoring of shareholder value. 
  • What does Beer mean with inertia? (3)
    1 The tendency to repeat past actions and patterns of activities
    2 Failure to recognize the need for change
    3 Despite recognition, individuals may still resist change - if they disagree with the change or personally stand to lose from change (self interest vs overall organization)
  • Change-based momentum = the energy associated with pursing a new trajectory.
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Why do changes fail? Failure of realizing planned change because... (4)
1 Following short-term fashions
2 Underestimating change
3 Rush through (pace and timing)
4 Not systematically working through change program
A lot of changes fail, why? Fail to change in the first place, because of... (3)
1 Fixed routines and mindsets
2 Fear of uncertainty and risk
3 Little environmental scanning (no openness to change or mindfulness during changing circumstances)
Sonenshein conducted a field study at a retailer implementing strategic change. What was his broad research question?
How managers' and employees' meaning constructions differs, and how these differences matter for how strategic change gets implemented. Sonensheins draws from narrative and sensemaking approaches to change. He examined relationships between the broader sources of meanings (managers and employees) and broader dimensions of meanings (derived inductively) to construct change.
Explain how the social constructionist perspective sees organizational identity (Ravasi)
Organizational identity: collective understandings
1. Central and relatively permanent organizational features, that distinguish the organization from others
2. Shared interpretive schemes that members collectively construct in order to provide meaning to their experience
3. Sensemaking: substantial organizational changes tend to require alteration in the way members interpret what is central and distinctive about their organization: develop new interpretations of what their organization is about.
The primacy and value of change VS stability in behavior in quite different in the two perspectives. Explain this? (Levinthal)
The less-mindful emphasize the role of continuity as a mechanism to preserve accumulated experiences, while the mindful stresses the importance of novelty to respond to changing/unique circumstances.
What is meant with a 'trend'? Name an example. What is the difference with an issue?
Trend = general and broadly defined changes in markets or society at large (example of Rao: societal shift classical toward nouvelle/more creative).
Issue = an active and specific expectation/concern in relation to the organization's decision and operations; that may or may not involve a point of conflict in opinions/judgements regarding a company's decisions/operations.
There are 8 errors frequently made that results in failed changes. Which 8 are this according to Kotter?
1 Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency
2 Not creating a powerful enough guiding coalition
3 Lacking a vision
4 Undercommunicating the vision by a factor of 10
5 Not removing obstacles to the new vision
6 Not systematically planning for and creating short-term wins
7 Declaring victory too soon
8 Not anchoring changes in the corporation's culture
What is cognitive inertia?
People are good in what they do and they keep doing that.
What is organizational change (Van de Venn & Poole) (important)
An empirical observation of difference in form, quality, or state over time in an organizational entity. The entity may be a job, work group, organizational strategy, programme, product or the overall organization.
Explain the fourth strategy of the four communication efficiency strategies of image 20: Equal participation strategy?
- Involves 2-way communication between managers and employees
- Is used when employees are crucial to success of the change. It is a costly strategy and may become political (when seeking for opinions/support etc.)
- Common to small and public-sector organizations that embrace participative and democratic values and have sufficient time, resources and communication channels.
> Low need of efficiency, and high of consensus