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Articles in "Organizations"

Organizational development practitioners are shifting from episodic change to continuous change process to enhance adaptability in increasingly turbulent environments. Although some researchers tend to present episodic and continuous change processes as mutually exclusive, both appear to be different perspectives on the same phenomena. Episodic change processes provide a macro level perspective on planned processes leaders implement to address failings, threats, or opportunities. Continuous change provides a micro level perspective on the unplanned changed processes that naturally occur through the dynamic interaction of people, process, technology, and environment. This paper compares analyzes episodic and continuous perspectives on change, concluding that understanding the definition, theoretical foundations, and practical applications of both provides leaders with a more complete picture of change that helps them to more effectively manage adaptability in turbulent environments.

Historical approaches to planned change typically offer prepackaged processes for driving changes to achieve organizational goals. However, the complexity of dynamically interacting and divergent forces at work in and around organizations limit the possibility of selecting one single approach for a change intervention. Seo, Putnam, and Bartunek (2004) offer the concepts of duality and tension to explain the dynamics of change and the implications of divergent approaches to change. A dichotomous perspective does not adequately represent reality, but dualities serve a valuable function for helping change practitioners to understand that managing duality is a key to “grasping the complexities and dynamics of planned change” (p. 102). To understand the key perspectives that have guided OD, I will consider key OD perspectives through the concept of dualities. I will then consider central debates and assumptions of OD change approaches against the duality and tension framework suggested by Seo, et al, and will conclude by suggesting that a dichotomous perspective can be limiting, but offers a way to understand how to balance multiple dualities that underlie complex change dynamics.

In "Organizational design: fashion or fit," Henry Mintzberg (1981) explores the natural configurations of organizations that result from elements of structure and situation to discover that consistency, coherence, and fit are the keys to successful organizational design. Mintzberg asserts that problems in organizational design come from two mistaken assumptions: 1) that organizations are alike, and 2) that effective organizations have coherent component parts. Rather, organizational characteristics fall into natural configurations, which are simple structure, machine bureaucracy, professional bureaucracy, divisionalized form, and adhocracy. Mismatched characteristics within these configurations will prevent an organization from achieving a natural harmony. To design effective organizations, managers must achieve a proper fit of organizational characteristics. This précis  will summarize Mintzberg’s article to find how harmonizing organizational parts may lead to organizational success.

Although general system theory explains how interdependent components work together to make the system more than its subsequent parts (Bertalanffy, 1972), chaos theory explains how tiny variations in initial conditions can have major influence on unfolding events within the system (Capra, 1996; Gleick, 2008) that make prediction a risky, if not impossible process. This essay will explore the nature of chaos theory in systems to discover how the unpredictability of events can be harnessed for real-world applications.

Platitudes that assert leadership and management are diametrically opposed concepts promote an inaccurate stereotype that tarnishes understanding of both while diminishing the potential effectiveness of those who adopt the axiom as a guiding philosophy.

Exploring the evolution of leadership thought from ancient times to contemporary research provides rich perspectives that provide today's leaders with insight, awareness, and tools for enhancing their ability to influence others.