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Abstract

How we manage and produce organizational change is a function of the point of view we take regarding the phenomenon of change. But different points of view give us different understandings of the process. In this article, three different points of view, or logics, are presented: formal logic, dialectics, and trialectics. Although each point of view is discussed, the intent of this paper is to expand the logics of change to include trialectics. The implications of trialectics for organization change are discussed.
... A response of suppression implies that people can choose to accept or ignore an opposition (Ford & Ford 1994), where ignoring it may reflect defensiveness or anxiety (Smith & Lewis 2011). Suspension, in contrast, implies that people can choose when to respond, depending on how the struggle between the opposites plays out, as a reflection of wait-and-see thinking (Lindgren et al. 2021;Smith & Lewis 2011). ...
... In this way, dialectical inquiry builds on the premise that change is driven by the struggle involved in oppositions (Ford & Ford 1994;Tilson et al. 2010). In some cases, people accept the oppositions they face and work towards synergies to produce mutually advantageous outcomes; in other cases, people respond antagonistically without resolving the oppositions (Hargrave & Van de Ven 2017;Smith & Lewis 2011). ...
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Although dialectical inquiry has been sporadically and selectively applied in the Information Systems (IS) discipline, and premier IS journals increasingly welcome dialectical inquiries, we lack methodological guidance on its application and evaluation, hindering its adoption as an important and valid IS research method. In response, we present a critical analysis of general dialectics literature and 63 extant IS dialectical inquiry publications in 18 journals spanning three decades, revealing that there is a growing and sizeable community of IS researchers using dialectical inquiry explicitly or implicitly to examine how sociotechnical phenomena change. Based on this analysis, we synthesize six principles for dialectical inquiry that are firmly rooted in dialectical philosophy, evidenced in IS publications, clearly distinct from each other, and together comprehensive. As such, our contribution can help IS researchers, reviewers, and editors to extend and solidify their methodological repertoire.
... Elsewhere, in early nineteenth-century Prussia, other dominant Western thoughts informed by Hegel's dialectics came to emphasize contradiction and change (see Ford and Ford, 1994). Dialectics recognizes gradual, evolutionary and revolutionary leaps. ...
... Notions such as a triple bottom line (Hussain et al., 2018) or trialectics (Ford and Ford, 1994) open new and more complex ways of seeing tension and contradiction in organizations. Our invitation to avoid the straightjacket is not meant to suggest that trialectics is 'better' than dialectics or that three-force tension is more sophisticated than tensions between two poles. ...
Book
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Paradoxes, contrary propositions that are not contestable separately but that are inconsistent when conjoined, constitute a pervasive feature of contemporary organizational life. When contradictory elements are constituted as equally important in day-to-day work, organizational actors frequently experience acute tensions in engaging with these contradictions. This Element discusses the presence of paradoxes in the life of organizations, introduces the reader to the notion of paradox in theory and practice, and distinguishes paradox and adjacent conceptualizations such as trade-off, dilemma, dialectics, ambiguity, etc. This Element also covers what triggers paradoxes and how they come into being whereby the Element distinguishes latent and salient paradoxes and how salient paradoxes are managed. This Element discusses key methodological challenges and possibilities of studying, teaching, and applying paradoxes and concludes by considering some future research questions left unexplored in the field.
... Pour Das et Teng (2000), une tension apparaît lors d'une tentative de résolution d'une contradiction. Ford et Ford (1994) suggèrent qu'une contradiction émerge lorsque des principes opposés coexistent dans une organisation ou lors d'une situation. Plus encore, un conflit peut faire référence à une tension (Benson, 1983). ...
Article
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La gestion équilibrée des rapports d'autorité et de la répartition des tâches ainsi que des responsabilités au sein des organisations à structure matricielle faible de projet est peu documentée (Nesheim, 2019). De ce contexte organisationnel particulier, l'objectif de cet article est d'identifier les tensions vécues par les employés qui travaillent majoritairement à la réalisation de tâches routinières et, à temps partiel, de projets afin de proposer des actions managériales pour les atténuer. Les résultats exposent des tensions présentes au cours des phases de la gestion de projet avec les différents niveaux hiérarchiques. La contribution théorique est la bonification des tensions identifiées par Lundin et Söderholm (1995); Arvidsson (2009); Nesheim (2019); Vestola et al. (2021). La contribution managériale repose sur les propositions pour les atténuer.
... La notion de tension est toujours associée à celles de contradictions et de paradoxes. Ford et Ford (1994) avancent qu'un phénomène peut être considéré comme une contradiction dès lors que des dynamiques et des principes opposés coexistent. Les contradictions font référence à un ensemble de ruptures et d'incohérences parmi ou entre différents arrangements sociaux (Seo et Creed, 2002). ...
Thesis
L’introduction de la Nouvelle Gouvernance Hospitalière a entre autres, reconfiguré les rôles des médecins et des cadres de santé tout en complexifiant leurs pratiques. Une transformation des rôles qui est source de tensions chez ces professionnels. Alors que les travaux de recherche se sont intéressés aux nouvelles pratiques chez les médecins (Georgescu, 2009 ; Valette et Burellier, 2014 ; Grenier et Bernardini-Perinciolo, 2015), seulement quelques travaux ont porté sur la transformation des rôles chez les cadres de santé et les tensions autour de cette fonction. Ce sont plutôt les sciences sociales (Bouret 2008 ; Bezes et al., 2011 ; Divay et Gadéa, 2015) qui ont investi le sujet. D’où l’objet de notre recherche sur les tensions ressenties par les cadres de santé dans le contexte de transformations de leurs organisations publiques hospitalières. Elle vise à mettre en évidence leur nature et éclairer le rôle du cadre de santé dans leur atténuation. Nous jumelons ainsi deux traditions de recherche : la psychologie sociale par le biais des tensions de rôle (Kahn et al. 1964) et le management public à travers les tensions de gouvernance publique (Mazouz et al. 2012 ; Hudon et Mazouz, 2014 ; Rochette et al. 2017). L’immersion au sein d’un centre hospitalier et les 43 entretiens semi-directifs (7 hôpitaux publics français) menés auprès des cadres de santé, des infirmiers et des directeurs de soins témoignent de la présence à la fois des tensions de rôle et des tensions de gouvernance publique. Ces deux formes de tensions qui s’expriment à des niveaux différents : micro (les tensions de rôle) et macro, méso et micro (les tensions de gouvernance publique) sont liées de telle sorte que les unes sont à l’origine des autres. À cela s’ajoute un rôle stratégique du manager de proximité clairement identifié par ses pairs (directeurs de soins) et son équipe (infirmière), ne disposant pourtant pas de marges de manœuvre suffisantes. Ce dernier va donc s’adapter aux changements et bricoler des solutions qui convergent vers trois grands pôles : la communication, la proximité et le management par le sens.
... During each cycle after a synthesis, the dialectical tension generated by contradictions starts small and builds gradually until cumulative changes lead to sudden qualitative changes (Ford and Ford, 1994). The subordinate actors and, reciprocally, the superordinate actors both establish the conditions of openness for a synthesis (Hargrave and Van de Ven, 2017). ...
Article
Through a 21-year longitudinal study of the relationship between Italian supercar manufacturer Automobili Lamborghini and its parent, German carmaker Audi AG, we examine how a unit’s degree of organizational autonomy is renegotiated over long periods of time. Using detailed empirical data, we develop a process model of the dynamics of organizational autonomy in a unit‒parent relationship. This process model shows an ongoing dialectical tension between parent managers’ autonomy-reduction efforts and unit managers’ autonomy-extension efforts, and it reveals oscillations in the unit managers’ discretion over resource-orchestration decisions. Driving this dialectic are parent managers’ appraisal respect for the unit, their search for firm-wide strategic integration, and unit managers’ organizational identity and concern for distinctiveness. Our process model captures concurrent feedback loops that endogenously produce these oscillations between lower and higher autonomy. We then conceptualize a harmonic domain in the unit–parent relationship, in which these oscillations persist without deviating toward amalgamation or separation. Finally, we develop a theory of change in autonomy by identifying a theoretical link between resource orchestration and specific dimensions of organizational identity. Our study highlights the dialectical, dynamic, and ongoing nature of organizational autonomy.
... Nessa perspectiva, governar significa equilibrar os três pilares societais. Os equilíbrios dessa trialética (Ford & Ford, 1994) são dinâmicos, instáveis, tensos, mas definem as boas sociedades. A gestão da trialética exige competências paradoxais e o entendimento de que o progresso está no equilíbrio, e não na dominância. ...
Article
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The theory of organizational paradoxes provides a lens for observing organizations and society, based on the role of tensions and contradictions. Taking the existence of opposing forces as inherent in pluralistic collectives such as complex organizations, paradox theory offers a conceptual angle with unique advantages. In this article, ways of rethinking organizations and society are discussed, based on the generative possibilities of paradoxes. The text addresses the way paradoxes operate at different levels and how they are felt by individuals, teams, organizations, inter-organizational systems and society as a whole. It also discusses how the paradoxical approach can inform the debate in four important areas for rethinking organizations and society: the relationship between business and society, sustainable development goals, the new space and democracy.
... From this perspective, governing means balancing the three societal pillars. The balances of this trialectic (Ford & Ford, 1994) are dynamic, unstable, tense, but they define good societies. The management of trialectics requires paradoxical skills and the understanding that progress lies in balance, not dominance. ...
Article
Full-text available
The theory of organizational paradoxes provides a lens for observing organizations and society, based on the role of tensions and contradictions. Taking the existence of opposing forces as inherent in pluralistic collectives such as complex organizations, paradox theory offers a conceptual angle with unique advantages. In this article, ways of rethinking organizations and society are discussed, based on the generative possibilities of paradoxes. The text addresses the way paradoxes operate at different levels and how they are felt by individuals, teams, organizations, inter-organizational systems and society as a whole. It also discusses how the paradoxical approach can inform the debate in four important areas for rethinking organizations and society: the relationship between business and society, sustainable development goals, the new space and democracy.
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Drawing from the positive organizational change theory, this paper aims to explore how Indian flexpatriates responded to the change brought by the pandemic of COVID-19 and what is the new normal according to them. Thematic analysis of nineteen in-depth interviews with flexpatriates from the IT industry revealed four explicit phases of change process – reflection, communication, collaboration, and transformation. Further, the analysis brought out four tenets of the new normal. First, it is time to blend physical and virtual work; second, the ‘personal’ touch of Indians in international assignments is irreplaceable; third, working from home amidst the entire household being housebound is the new normal; and last, international travel will resume soon with some changed protocols. This is the first qualitative study combining the issue of global talent management with Indian flexpatriates vis-à-vis the impact of COVID-19, the findings of which expand the positive organizational change theory and have important implications.
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A comparative model of organizations as interpretation systems is proposed. The model describes four interpretation modes: enacting, discovering, undirected viewing, and conditioned viewing. Each mode is determined by (1) management's beliefs about the environment and (2) organizational intrusiveness. Interpretation modes are hypothesized to be associated with organizational differences in environmental scanning, equivocality reduction, strategy, and decision making.
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In this new age of competition and sweeping change, the typical business organization needs something beyond modification. It needs not just one-time change but also the flexibility that will enable it to change continually to improve quality and productivity if it is to compete. It has to be open to innovation in every activity and at every level. To continually improve the value of its products and services and the effectiveness of its processes for producing and delivering them, the organization needs employees capable of promoting and providing innovation in its own design and style. The areas in which changes are to be made include the global marketplace, accelerated technological developments; and the new values and lifestyles of both producers and consumers.
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