Non-human resistance in changes towards lean
2012 (English)In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, ISSN 0953-4814, Vol. 25, no 6, 853-866 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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.
Actor-network theory; Change; Change management; Lean production; Manufacturing industries; Resistance; Sociotechnical change; Sweden
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-75353DOI: 10.1108/09534811211280609OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-75353DiVA: diva2:506097
On the day of the defence day the status of this article was: Manuscript2012-02-272012-02-272015-02-05Bibliographically approved