Narratives of coherence

The role of affordances and homologies

Authored by: Michael R. Lissack

The Routledge Companion to Organizational Change

Print publication date:  October  2011
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415556453
eBook ISBN: 9780203810279
Adobe ISBN: 9781136680908


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Organizational change is usually provoked by some outside event – often a perceived risk of failure but sometimes the perception by senior management of a major but unexploited opportunity. When a change project is commenced, its very nature is threatening not only to the status quo but to the coherence or sense of unity which pervades the organization and which helps to define it for its members and stakeholders. Management in this world is perhaps best labeled as “coherence seeking” – where what is sought is a pervasive yet dynamic feeling of confidence that the world is predictable and that things will work out as desired. The successful change project will achieve Antonovsky’s (1979) definition of coherence: comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness.

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