Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Non-human resistance in changes towards lean
Linköping University, HELIX Vinn Excellence Centre. Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Quality Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9155-189X
Linköping University, HELIX Vinn Excellence Centre. Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Quality Technology and Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, ISSN 0953-4814, Vol. 25, no 6, 853-866 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The importance of social issues is well established in the literature on resistance to change. However, much can be gained by including physical objects in the analysis. Using actor-network theory, this paper aims to explore the resistance of non-human actors in organizational change and contribute to an expanded understanding of resistance to change. Design/methodology/approach: The article is based on a longitudinal case study of the introduction of lean in a large Swedish manufacturing company. The empirical basis consists of interviews, observations and document studies. Actor-network theory is used as a theoretical lens to identify non-human resistance to change. Findings: The paper proposes that non-human actors can inhibit change through a lack of alignment with the overall change initiative. This may cause large variation in the interpretation of the proposed change and a lengthy process of construction and negotiation. The paper provides examples of four different types of non-human resistance that result from this lack of alignment. Practical implications: It is proposed that change initiatives need to be aligned with existing practice and anchored in objects that are integrated in organizational routines. The four types of non-human resistance presented in the paper may be used as a checklist to reduce the risk of failure. Originality/value: The predominant focus on social issues tends to disregard the impact of the physical environment in change processes. Actor-network theory and the inclusion of the physical environment will help to expand and improve the understanding of resistance to change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012. Vol. 25, no 6, 853-866 p.
Keyword [en]
Actor-network theory; Change; Change management; Lean production; Manufacturing industries; Resistance; Sociotechnical change; Sweden
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-75353DOI: 10.1108/09534811211280609OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-75353DiVA: diva2:506097
Note

On the day of the defence day the status of this article was: Manuscript

Available from: 2012-02-27 Created: 2012-02-27 Last updated: 2015-02-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exploring organizational translation: A case study of changes toward Lean Production
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring organizational translation: A case study of changes toward Lean Production
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Lean Production has received massive attention during recent years, and many organizations attempt to introduce it with an ambition to reach the radical improvement effects that are promised in the popular management literature. However, introducing a management concept can be a very challenging task, and research has shown that the majority of such initiatives fail. A common observation is that the outcome of a change initiative differs from its initial intentions, which indicates that the content of the change is somehow transformed during the process. This kind of transformation can be described as organizational translation.

The purpose of the thesis is to provide an account of how processes of organizational translation transpire and to analyze and identify the main determinants of their outcome.

The thesis is based on a longitudinal case study that has focused on the introduction of the management concept Lean in a large Swedish manufacturing company. The study has been performed in two phases. In the first phase, a series of retrospective interviews have been performed with employees at all hierarchical levels within the company. The second phase of the study has been based on a prospective approach. This phase has comprised a combination of interviews, observations and document studies, with focus on a pilot project within the company. The study was performed between 2007 and 2011 and covers events between 2003 and 2011.

By analyzing the changes from a translation perspective, the thesis contributes to explore the meaning of organizational translation and the mechanisms through which Lean is materialized and developed into organizational practice.

Three types of organizational translation are presented in the thesis. These are defined as the activities and processes through which Lean is translated to a local set of ideas, practices and objects, respectively. It is suggested that these three entities and the corresponding forms of translation interact and together influence how people behave, which in turn will affect the results of the change initiative. This implies that all three types of organizational translation need to be addressed for a change initiative to be successful. Further, the suggested change must be translated so that it is represented in physical objects, people’s understanding and organizational practice. Lack of alignment between these three entities will create tension, which will likely hinder change and increase the risk of failure.

Abstract [sv]

Lean Production är ett koncept som har fått mycket uppmärksamhet under de senaste åren, och många organisationer försöker att införa det utifrån en ambition att uppnå de radikala förbättringseffekterna som utlovas i den populära managementlitteraturen. Att föra in ett managementkoncept kan vara en mycket svår uppgift, och forskning har visat att majoriteten av sådana initiativ misslyckas. En vanlig observation är att utfallet av ett förändringsinitiativ ofta avviker från de ursprungliga målsättningarna, vilket antyder att förändringens innehåll på något sätt har omvandlats under processen. Denna sorts omvandling kan beskrivas som organisatorisk översättning.

Syftet med avhandlingen är att ge en bild av hur organisatorisk översättning kan gå till samt analysera och identifiera de viktigaste drivkrafterna i sådana processer.

Avhandlingen baseras på en longitudinell fallstudie som har fokuserat på införandet av managementkonceptet Lean i ett stort svenskt tillverkningsföretag. Studien har genomförts i två faser. I den första fasen har en serie retrospektiva intervjuer genomförts med anställda på samtliga hierarkiska nivåer inom företaget. Studiens andra fas har baserats på en prospektiv ansats. Denna fas har innefattat en kombination av intervjuer, observationer och dokumentstudier, med fokus på ett pilotprojekt inom företaget. Studien har genomförts mellan 2007 och 2011, och behandlar händelser mellan 2003 och 2011.

Tre former för organisatorisk översättning presenteras i avhandlingen. Dessa definieras som de aktiviteter och processer varigenom Lean översätts till en lokal uppsättning av idéer, praktiker samt objekt. Det föreslås att dessa tre enheter och deras motsvarande former för översättning interagerar och tillsammans påverkar människors beteende, vilket i sin tur påverkar resultaten av förändringsinsatsen. Detta innebär att alla tre former för organisatorisk översättning måste tas i beaktning för att en förändringsinsats ska lyckas. De föreslagna förändringarna måste översättas så att de representeras i fysiska objekt, människors förståelse samt organisatorisk praktik. Brist på överensstämmelse mellan dessa tre enheter kommer leda till spänningar, vilka sannolikt kommer att hindra förändringen och öka risken för misslyckande.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. 181 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1422
Keyword
Organizational change, Lean Production, Organizational translation, Organisatorisk förändring, lean, organisatorisk översättning
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-74621 (URN)978-91-7519-974-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-03-16, C3, Hus C, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-02-27 Created: 2012-02-02 Last updated: 2015-02-05Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(630 kB)650 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 630 kBChecksum SHA-512
218399e78d509d580157235f320251b7c2df7eae88b12fd660d7f7b062ddd28c2ae630a1b220c5fd005f5b632e2c7b0146cf9018f3baed40228f71b47b0ed088
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Langstrand, JosteinElg, Mattias
By organisation
HELIX Vinn Excellence CentreQuality Technology and ManagementThe Institute of Technology
In the same journal
Journal of Organizational Change Management
Engineering and Technology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 650 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 378 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link