The Interaction of Change Agent Actions and Perceived Change Recipient Responses During Planned Organizational Change: A Strong Structuration Study Open Access

Abstract of DissertationThe Interaction of Change Agent Actions and Perceived Change Recipient ResponsesDuring Planned Organizational Change: A Strong Structuration StudyThis instrumental case study explored the interaction between change agent strategy and perceived change recipient response during a planned organizational change. The research site was a division of a large supplier to a single sector of the economy. In response to changing market conditions, the organization underwent an episodic change. Stones’ (2005) strong structuration theory was used as a conceptual lens. Data were collected from documents and interviews with middle manager change leaders. Two forms of analysis were performed. First, an inductive thematic analysis yielded several external knowledge structures (context and content) and internal knowledge structures (general dispositional and conjuncturally-specific) salient to the participants. Second, episode-by-episode analysis of 24 interactions (73 individual episodes) yielded (a) a number of inductively developed forms of enacted strategy, which were then categorized using Chin and Benne’s (1969) framework; and (b) a number of inductively developed perceived recipient responses, which were then categorized using the framework of Oreg, Bartunek, Lee, and Do (2018). This study demonstrated that (1) enacted change strategies are intimately linked to prior perceived responses by the evolving conjuncturally-specific knowledge structures of the change agent; (2) change agents can and do contribute to resistance to change by two new mechanisms; (3) change recipients attempt to assume the role of agent by initiating interaction episodes; (4) perceived recipient responses change over time, most likely in response to recipient cognitive reappraisal of prior responses; and (5) both change agents and change recipients seek intersubjectivity, but for different reasons. Significant implications for both theory and practice are advanced, and a modification of the Oreg et al. (2018) framework is proposed to accommodate the findings of this study.

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