Organizational change and dialectic processes

Authored by: Ann Langley , Pamela Sloan

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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In attempting to understand the processes of organizational change, many writers and empirical researchers have invoked the concept of dialectics, a notion that has its roots in Hegelian philosophy and that is used to refer to social processes as imbued with conflict, tension and contradiction. This chapter will review conceptual and empirical contributions to the organizational studies literature that have drawn on the notion of dialectics to examine how the concept is understood and used, and to review the implications that can be drawn from it both for the understanding of organizational change as well as for management practice. We begin by briefly introducing some central tendencies in dialectical thought prior to describing the variety of streams of work that draw on it.

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