Management Scholarship and Organisational Change
Management Scholarship and Organisational Change: Representing Burns and Stalker
Change is a crucial and inescapable process for many organisations. It remains a constant challenge for managers and many change management initiatives fail. Burns and Stalker’s seminal text on managing change, The Management of Innovation, has often been used as a basis for research in mainstream management journals and has been represented as an important theory in popular and long-established management textbooks. The issues raised in that book are still being grappled with by academics and practitioners today.
Miriam Green provides a critical analysis of the mainstream construction of knowledge on change management through an examination of representations of that text. The main thesis of her book is that this literature, though valuable, does not provide a full picture. Its objectivist approach ignores the role of other factors raised in the original study. These factors include the effects of power, politics, resistance and employee influence on the outcomes of managerial change strategies and on other organisational processes, with important consequences for the understanding of change initiatives by both academics and practitioners. This is part of an ongoing debate in management studies and more widely in the social sciences about theoretical approaches and research methods.
The originality of this book lies in its in-depth comparison of an entire monograph on organisations facing technological and commercial change, with an equally in-depth analysis of the ways this work has been represented and used as a basis for teaching and research. It highlights the limitations of the exclusive use of one approach to explain the complications arising from organisational change. It challenges the scientific justification offered for that approach and supports arguments for more inclusive and sustainable scholarship, of greater relevance to academics, managers and other organisational stakeholders.
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