Effectively Allocating Resources to Organizational Change: Exploring the Impact of Change Drivers for First-Order and Second-Order Change

By Karen S. Whelan-Berry and Karen A. Somerville.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Organizational change remains a critical, but challenging process for organizations. Various researchers have noted the lack of agreement about independent variables, or change drivers, that are available to management to effect the desired change. Change drivers are events and activities that support the implementation of organizational change and individual employee adoption of change initiatives, and are key to successful organizational change. Organizational change initiatives vary in terms of the change type and the related, envisioned outcomes. First-order or convergent change involves fine-tuning, or change within a given system, process or set of values, such as strengthening existing cost control processes. In contrast, second-order or radical change involves changes to given system, process, or set of values, such as changing an organization’s culture. Minimal literature explores the difference in the impact or effect of change drivers for first-order versus second-order change. Our longitudinal study, completed in the Corporate Audit department of one of the largest U.S. banks, uses case, survey, and interview data to explore our research question: How does the impact of change drivers vary for first-order versus second-order change? We found that change drivers were perceived by employees as more significant for the second-order change initiative, and that the perceived significance of the change drivers to the individual adoption of change initiatives also varied by change type.

Keywords: Organizational Change, Change Drivers, First-order Change, Second-order Change

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 9, pp.163-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.221MB).

Dr. Karen S. Whelan-Berry

Associate Professor of Management, School of Business, Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Dr. Karen Whelan-Berry is an Associate Professor of Management at Providence College. Her research/practice/consulting interests include the organizational process, individual work-life balance and related organizational benefits and practices, and individual and team development. Karen brings extensive practice/corporate experience to her work in academe.

Dr. Karen A. Somerville

Assistant Professor, Department of Management & Economics, School of Business, Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

Dr. Karen Ann Somerville earned her Ph.D. at the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University in Ottawa, ON, Canada. She is currently an Assistant Professor with Hamline University’s School of Business in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. Dr. Somerville’s main research interests include organizational culture, organizational change, organizational behaviour and women in management. With more than 25 years experience in senior management positions in the private sector, the public sector, as well as the not for profit sector, Dr. Somerville is able to blend the theory with practical applications in workplaces. This focus guides her research interests and ensures that her research provides value for organizations. As well, her students frequently comment that they value the “real life” experiences that Dr. Somerville brings to the classroom, in addition to the theoretical content.


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