Linking Diverse Levels of Activity: - A Key Challenge of Organisational Renewal

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    Abstract

    Organisations start strategic renewal initiatives more often than ever before. Many initiatives, however, have little practical effect on the practices they are meant to change. They do not seem to submerge to the level where they become part of the actionable knowledge of the organisation. Furthermore, the implementation of strategic organisational change, even if based on good arguments, solid analysis and the best intentions, tends to be fraught with unintended consequences. In this paper we aim to supply an explanation for this, based on a longitudinal study, and grounded in a social practice perspective of organisational activity. We focus on the relation between the strategic initiatives initiated by middle and top management and the practical everyday work context of practitioners, as they try to make sense of the initiatives that aim to change this context. Thus, the paper follows up on the debate about the relation between formal organisational orientation and social practices (Balogun & Johnson 2005). We unfold the argument that strategic renewal and the re-enactment of social practices are deeply intertwined. Arguably, this is particularly true in innovative and/or knowledge intensive companies (Starbuck 1992), which, due to their unsettled form and process, rely on the sense their members make of the change inputs and their creative enactment of these inputs. In such companies, change is a part of everyday practice that (re)produces organisational configurations and the reality experienced by practitioners, rather than an occational exception. This requires us to be more aware of how daily activities influence organisational level outcomes. The research question pursued in this paper is then: How are new ideas about strategic organisational change unfolded and absorbed in knowledge intensive organisations, and how may this help us explain the failures and unintended consequences of change initiatives?
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 22 EGOS Colloquium 2006
    Number of pages23
    PublisherUniversity of Bergen and EGOS
    Publication date2006
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventEGOS Colloquium - Bergen, Norway
    Duration: 6 Jul 20068 Jul 2006
    Conference number: 22

    Conference

    ConferenceEGOS Colloquium
    Number22
    CountryNorway
    CityBergen
    Period06/07/200608/07/2006

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