How does change happen in a large construction company: Comparing objectified and lived versions of change
Paper in proceedings, 2011
That change is a part of organizational life has been well documented in the literature, but how change emerges over time and is interpreted warrants further research. Much of the existing literature portrays organizational change as detached episodes - based on a single perspective, accounting either for the content, the context, or the process. This paper traces the development in a large construction company from 1990 to the present and compares an objectified (documented) version with a lived version of change in order to elucidate the multifaceted nature of organizational change. The data is part of an ongoing longitudinal case study which to date comprises, 27 in-depth interviews with lower- to high-level actors, and documentation covering the period. The analysis is structured around the two versions of change and enhances their main differences. Change seems to be continuous and trend-related in the objectified version and discontinuous and reactive in the lived version. Conclusions from this study are: researchers need to apply an interpretative approach when studying organizational change; and, if the actors in a construction company interpret change to be reactive and discontinuous then those interpretations might reflect and enact a passive company culture.