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This paper considers social and political aspects of organizational change arising from the selection of a new informaiton system, and emphasizes the importance of understanding how competing commitments can lead to workthink as a tactic of resistance to organizational change. Perceptions play an important role in the political decisions made by various groups during organizational change, and this can be seen in the interactions of staff during the meetings. Workthink can be defined as an act of agreeing to a particular action so that the participant can return to a task that he or she perceives to be more important than the reason for the meeting. Workthink can have significant impact on the success of a change implementation, especially if workthink actions are reinforced by informal communications amongst staff. This paper reports a particular change event brought about by the selection and recommendation to implement a new information system. The steering committee for the project comprised members drawn from various departments throughout the organization. The use of workthink as a political strategy explains some of the reactions of the committee members to the meetings. Given that not all members attended committee meetings on each occasion, their workthink strategy may explain the apparent haste to conclude the meetings, or the disinterest that some members related that they felt during the meetings. In this case, workthink can be further interpreted as a form of resistance in which delaying decisions and the manipulation of tasks would provide opportunities to build up coalitions with other committee members who did not attend the meeting.
|Keywords:||Power, Knowledge Gatekeeper, Groupthink, Workthink, Competing Commitments, Cognitive Dissonance|
Lecturer, School of Information and Communication Technology , Faculty of Arts, Business, Informatics and Education, Learning and Teaching Education Research Centre, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Senior Lecturer, School of Business, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia