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Sustainable Development in Organizations

Sustainable Development in Organizations

Studies on Innovative Practices

Edited by Mattias Elg, Per- Erik Ellström, Magnus Klofsten and Malin Tillmar

An increasingly competitive environment can lead to considerable problems for many organizations as they struggle to adapt to change. As a result, they fail to create the conditions that can lead to sustainable development over the long term, thus affecting the capabilities of employees. This book provides a fresh perspective on sustainable change and development in organizations, as well as a critical perspective on lean implementation, work environment and sustainability.

Chapter 6: Program steering by learning

Agneta Halvarsson Lundkvist and Henrik Kock

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisational innovation, organisation studies


Research on the effects of change programs frequently demonstrates paradoxical results as change programs seldom seem to produce the expected changes, but rather status quo or unexpected changes. Many change programs appear to fit the formula presented by Czarniawska and Joerges: ‘First there were losses, and then there was a plan of change and then there was an implementation, which led to unexpected results’ (1996, p. 20). There are, of course, a number of reasons that contribute to a deeper understanding of why change programs do not produce change. Several researchers argue that rational models may be appropriate in contexts characterized by simplicity and predictability, whereas they are insufficient in complex and dynamic contexts (Mintzberg, 1994; Beer and Nohria, 2000). Moreover, as many models are linear and based on control, they also seem to drive programs and projects in the direction of what can be evaluated, rather than in the direction of interesting findings (cf. Brulin and Svensson, 2012).

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