Looking in or looking out? Top-down change and operational capability

Date

2010

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

1438-5627

DOI

Volume Title

Publisher

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Abstract

Strategic intentions reflect the aspirations of an organization. They can also be translated into targets for the rest of the organization and structures, procedures, measures and associated rules introduced to meet them. Drawing upon insight from social systems theory, and case study evidence from the telecommunications industry, this conceptual paper suggests that the ensuing implementation processes can conflict with the principles and objectives of actors at operational levels and lead to behaviors that can hinder the pursuit of those high level goals. This misalignment, or pathological autopoiesis, is manifest through a restructuring in which the organization becomes the environment for operational actors who in turn focus upon the "translation" of imposed conditions into their own psychic and social needs. In effect the organization turns in on itself and away from the need to acquire information about, and respond to, its own environment, a condition that is fundamental to the resilience and survival of any system.

Description

Keywords

Citation

Lemon, M., Cook, M. and Craig, J. (2010). Looking in or looking out? Top-down change and operational capability. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 11 (3), Art. 27.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)