The Momentum of Organizational Change<sup>1</sup>

Elden Wiebe, Roy Suddaby and William M. Foster

in Constructing Identity in and around Organizations

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199640997
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738388 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives on Process Organization Studies

The Momentum of Organizational Change1

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The purpose of this chapter is to clarify the concept of momentum by situating momentum within the flow of time (past, present, and future), and in doing so, reconceptualize momentum as agentic. Organization scholars have typically equated momentum with inertia and hence the inability of organizations to change. Close examination of the organization literature, however, reveals that the concept of momentum is not so narrowly defined. From the literature, we identify and delineate three types of momentum—inherent, exploratory, and emergent—on the basis of their relationship to time (past, future, and present, respectively). On the basis of their temporal grounding, we then describe how momentum can be conceptualized as agentic. Finally, we describe the interaction of each temporal dimension (past, present, and future) within each type of momentum. We conclude with some considerations of the implications for organizational change.

Keywords: momentum; time; agency; organizational change

Chapter.  9977 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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