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Anatomy of a radical change

This thesis reports the findings of a three-year field research that explored in real time the managerial processes involved in an attempt to realize radical change in a large and complex organization. The study adopted a multi-perspective approach, interviewing and observing more than 140 individuals at all levels of the organization. It followed the evolution of four large units conducting 117 change initiatives. / It was found that the success rate of modest-in-scope initiatives was high (around 85%) while the success rate of major initiatives was disappointing (around 20%). This thesis focuses on describing the organizational processes that led to such differential outcomes. / The findings suggest that a proposed change initiative is subject to three organizational filters on its way to being adopted by the organization. Each filter represents a set of interrelated conditions that a proposed change initiative must meet as a prerequisite. To pass the emotion filter, a proposed change must be perceived by its potential adopters as congruent with the core values of the organization, that the change is construed not as detrimental to their personal welfare, and that the conduct of the change agents is compatible with the institutional values (legitimacy). To pass the cognition filter, there should be sufficient knowledge development and sharing for the realization of the proposed change. And finally, to pass the action filter, there should be requisite lateral coordination and persistence in action to institutionalize the change as a new organizational routine. It is also suggested that these three filters exhibit an order of saliency, or hierarchy, in their respective influence on the adoption of the change proposal by the organization. / Second, fundamental changes in beliefs and values require creation and maintenance of an appropriate emotional context. Organizational behaviors that attend to emotions aroused by radical change are necessary to its realization. / Finally, the findings of this research allow to offer prescriptions about the conduct of organizational change, especially changes related to work processes, and to challenge certain conventional beliefs about leadership of change.
Date January 1998
CreatorsNguyễn, Huy Quý.
ContributorsMintzberg, Henry (advisor), Westley, Frances (advisor)
PublisherMcGill University
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
CoverageDoctor of Philosophy (Faculty of Management.)
RightsAll items in eScholarship@McGill are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
Relationalephsysno: 001809171, proquestno: NQ70190, Theses scanned by UMI/ProQuest.

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