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The emergence of homogeneity and heterogeneity in knowledge structures during a planned organizational change

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Scholars and practitioners increasingly strive to understand the complexities marking implementations of organizational change programs. Studies on this topic often concentrate on members' cognition about a planned change, regularly finding that members' knowledge structures and interpretations either converge or diverge over time. Using interviews, observations, and a unique discourse processing technique, a nine-month case study of one division of a municipal government organization shows that members' knowledge structures simultaneously converged and diverged as a consequence of both the change initiative and several unanticipated organizational events, including a clash between workgroups. The study's findings and theoretical perspective suggest a challenge to cognitive perspectives on knowledge and traditional research on organizational change; they also provide lessons for practitioners on how organizations may learn from complex change dynamics.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2003


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