Why Organizational Change Fails: Robustness, Tenacity, and Change in Organizations, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Why Organizational Change Fails

Robustness, Tenacity, and Change in Organizations, 1st Edition

By Leike van Oss, Jaap van 't Hek


184 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Change in organizations can arise spontaneously, or it can begin in response to a planned process of change. Even planned change is not as predictable as one might like it to be; it is often partial or incomplete, or the results of change may not be what one hoped. The aspects of an organization that resist change can be vital to an organization’s success, helping to keep it firm, stable, and robust.

Why Organizational Change Fails aims to make change managers and OD consultants sensitive to signals of the robust part of an organization, helping them to see something different than they usually see: signs of change. The authors distinguish two aspects of stability in organisations: robustness and tenacity. Robustness is the ability of organisations to remain stable under changing conditions. Tenacity is the reaction of a robust system to planned change. Each of these aspects has its own unique qualities and value within organizations. In the book, the authors describe three aspects of robustness: social, cognitive and political. They also describe healthy and unhealthy forms. Tenacity is described in three patterns: bouncing back, smothering and calculating.

Each chapter of the book is preceded by an essay written by a leading scientist designed to help provide real-world context for the process of change and offering insights for the reader on either side of the change equation.

Table of Contents

Part I: Robustness 1. Robustness 2. Routines: The Social Aspect of Robustness. Introduction by Prof. Christien Brinkgreve: On the Tenacity of Sexual Differences 3. The Learned Organization: The Cognitive Aspect of Robustness. Introduction by Prof. Theo Mulder: On Human Motor Control in a Constantly Changing Environment 4. Power: The Political Aspect of Robustness. Introduction by Prof. Jan van Hooff: Power and Stability in the Social Organization of Animals 5. Pathological Forms of Robustness. Introduction by Dr Piet Boonekamp: A Chance Meeting Between Phytophthora and the Potato? Part II: Tenacity 6. The Tenacity of Organizations 7. Springing Back. Introduction by Prof. Louise Vet: Change for the Sake of Not Having To Change: A Metaphor from the Field of Ecology 8. Smothering Change. Introduction by Prof. Hans Bennis: On the (Un) Changeability of Language 9. Calculating. Introduction by Saskia van Dockum: Inertia and Change: Lessons from Archaeology Part III: Perspectives 10. The Blind Spot. Introduction by René Gude: Changes with Lasting Consequences: The Philosophy of Unchangeability 11. Lessons for Change Introduction by Frank Bijdendijk: The Yin and Yang of Our Built Environment In Conclusion

About the Authors

Jaap van ‘t Hek owns and is the management consultant and interim manager of Organisatievragen . He works as a director in governments and non profit organizations, and is also a teacher, trainer and coach for young professionals at Sioo.

Leike van Oss formed Organisatievragen together with Jaap van ‘t Hek and has worked as an organizational consultant, interim manager and coach. Leike works with knowledge-intensive organizations, as well as national and local government organizations.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society

Management, Organizations and Society represents innovative work grounded in new realities; addressing issues crucial to an understanding of the contemporary world. This is the world of organized societies, where boundaries between formal and informal, public and private, local and global organizations have been displaced or vanished along with other nineteenth century dichotomies and oppositions. Management, apart from becoming a specialised profession for a growing number of people, is an everyday activity for most members of modern societies. Management, Organizations and Society will address these contemporary dynamics of transformation in a manner that transcends disciplinary boundaries, with work which will appeal to researchers, students and practitioners alike.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Decision-Making & Problem Solving
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Human Resources & Personnel Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Office Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Development