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Next Concepts for Successful Organizational Change

Next Concepts for Successful Organizational Change

The high number of change management disasters has fostered an academic debate in recent years focusing on the reasons for failure. This debate is quite self-critical because many scholars see this issue as more than a problem of practitioners who fail to properly implement good theoretical concepts. Burnes and Cooke (2012; pp. 1416-1417), for example, argue that many change management projects fail because most theoretical concepts are evidently based on problematic normative assumptions. According to these authors, most approaches perceive change as something positive which is, therefore, legitimized. Thus, too many scholars and managers approach changes with the attitude that they have to neutralize any employee resistance – that is seen as irrational and illegitimate behavior. The argument that theories based on such assumptions might be inappropriate has become more and more popular within the field of change management in recent years (Ford et al., 2008, Oswick et al., 2005, Sturdy and Grey, 2003, Wetzel and Van Gorp, 2013, Will, 2014, Will, 2015). These critical voices are a strong indicator that we need to develop powerful theories that will give a better understanding of change.

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