Organization development and international contexts

Values, controversies and challenges

Authored by: Christopher J. Rees

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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The multi-disciplinary nature of organizational change literature and research provides opportunities and challenges for both academics and practitioners working in this area (Marshak and Grant, 2008; Pettigrew et al., 2001; Schwarz and Huber, 2008). In terms of opportunities, knowledge from associated disciplines such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and economics can be mined and then applied in imaginative ways to understand and inform organizational change designs and interventions (Rees, 2008a). In terms of challenges, however, the absence of universally acknowledged defining criteria makes it extremely difficult to trace trends and developments relating to the theory and practice of organizational change. As a result, key issues surrounding the aims, values, leadership, practice, and evaluation of organizational change interventions are often shrouded in ambiguity and controversy. For example, the perceived purpose of an organizational change intervention is likely to be multi-dimensional, perhaps unstated, and, in some cases, unconsciously strategized and resisted by various stakeholders involved in the process. In view of these tensions and uncertainties, it is often difficult to discuss in an overt manner the objectives and hence evaluation of an organizational change intervention; what may be viewed as an organizational change intervention failure by one group of stakeholders may be seen as a successful change intervention by another group of stakeholders.

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