Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to defend a social constructionist approach to conceptualizing and managing organizational change. This approach requires that one pays more attention to the relational qualities of ongoing interaction processes among the parties involved, and that the individual and the organization are conceptualized as inextricably linked rather than separate entities to be related. Specifically, the authors take the relationship as constructed by employees as the focus of analysis, illustrating that by focusing on the relational quality of the interface between individuals and organizations, new possibilities for dialogue among parties can be created and new ways of intervening can be contemplated. Design/methodology/approach – To illustrate this argument, a detailed case study of a planned change scenario is described, looking in particular at the way employees construct the change as a basis for identifying the core elements of meaning construction in this instance. Findings – The findings reveal that contrary to management assumptions, employees interpret change as either attractive or non‐engaging rather than as either a threat or an opportunity. The findings highlight the importance of actively managing the attractiveness of the new organization (its corporate identity and image) as an integral part of the change effort rather than focusing solely on strategic issues. Originality/value – This paper tries to develop a better understanding of “relational perspectives on the construction of meaning” as they relate to organizational change, especially the kind of broad‐ranging, transformational change. Understanding change events of this type from the perspective of those involved is an important task for organizational scholars. Moreover, it tries to integrate a number of distinct but potential complementary theoretical perspectives, including the social construction of reality, negotiation and argumentation, the negotiated order perspective, sensemaking, personal construct psychology, thematic networks, and identity. Finally, it attempts to ground its inquiry in the words and constructs of those involved in the change process, rather than trying to impose pre‐existing organizational theories on the observed events.
Journal of Organizational Change Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 30, 2011
Keywords: Relational perspective; Construction of meaning; Change interpretation; Social construction of reality; Argumentation theory; Organizational change; Employees
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera