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Organization Change: Theory and Practice

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Ryan Spear

on 22 September 2012

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Transcript of Organization Change: Theory and Practice

Pattern photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli Organization Change: Theory and Practice
W. Warner Burke (2011) Chapter 4:
Theoretical Foundations
of Organizations and Organization Change Open-System
Theory Characteristics of
Open Systems Organization Change
is Systemic Toward a Deeper
Understanding of
Organization Change Capra's Three Criteria
for Understanding Life Implications for
Organizations and
Change Two Theoretical "Domains" Open-System Theory Physics Life Sciences Primary explanatory discipline "An organization is open because
of its dependence on and
continual interaction with the
environment in which it resides," (Burke, p. 56). Closed System: entirely self-contained,
no interaction outside of itself As opposed to... Cell Biology :: Organization Energy
Output Money, raw materials... Sold to consumers... Transform energy into something useful Money Product Input Throughput Output Feedback
Loop Boundaries of an Open-System? Organization name? Location? Input Throughput Output Feedback
Loop "Permeable" boundary Importation of Energy Energy Throughput Something happens to this energy
through a process of conversion
into something else Output the converted energy is outputted in the form of some sort of product, sale or service Systems are
Cycles of Events An organization is more than just its location - the "events" of its operation give identity. These are cyclical and needed for survival. Negative Entropy "Entropy" is disorder - the natural consequence of all organizations. Energy intake "negative" entropy output Information input, negative feedback, and the coding process A simple way to put this might simply be "assessment:" the ability to improve based on information gathered. Steady-state and dynamic homeostasis Appearance of stability vs. an "apparent equilibrium" Differentiation As a way to "combat" entropy:
Integration and coordination Balances the potential excesses of differentiation. Equifinality The ability to accomplish the same goals in a variety of ways Specialization Growth Elaboration "Shared norms
an values" Differentiation Goal "Openness" "Selectivity" $$$ Recognizes that when one area changes, many areas change (or at least have the potential to) "Total system approach"
*How* change happens matters... Individual change vs. "group or organizational norms" Recognition of the "open-system" nature of organizations When considering the ten characteristics of an open system, it is clear that any change must be systemic in nature. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Fritjof Capra: Theoretical Physicist Understanding organizations through the lens of "life-sciences" vs. physics Life sciences as a "holistic worldview"
and an "integrated whole" Life-sciences emphasis connectedness
and inter-relationships of seemingly disparate disciplines Process Structure "The configuration of relationships that determines the system's essential characteristics," (Burke, p. 65). How an organization goes about doing things. Autopoeisis is the process of self-making. An organization is self-perpetuating and is influenced by environment but not determined by it - can form new structures and patterns. Highly interdependent with "pattern" Pattern: "how" Structure: "what" Key phrases to understand structure vs. "Open structurally" "Closed organizationally" "Dissipative structures" bringing order out of chaos, revealing new patterns and structures External environment Changes Pattern & Structure Cultural Lock-in "...the inability to change the culture...even in the face of threats to survival," (Burke, p. 67). Pattern & Structure need to change. "...the activity involved in the continual embodiment of the system's pattern of organization," (Burke, p. 68). "the mind" "the brain" the process is the way in which an organization "knows" how to respond to outside influence. Outside
Influence ...decide what to pay attention to... Monitor outside influence... ...successfully respond with appropriate changes. "Process" living systems are "networks within networks" of autopoeitic components... "are...organizations...self-making networks?" back-and forth interaction between organizations and environment At some point, every theoretical framework reaches its limit. taking in energy, transforming and outputting self-making yet not self-sufficient. Organizations that "learn" Open theory plus Capra's Three Criteria for Understanding Life provide the theoretical foundation for understanding organizations and organizational change
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