Management & Organization Development

Forces of change (Klabbers, 2009)

While being involved in processes of change, companies have to adequately deal with and balance the following drivers and barriers of change.

Table 11.1. Forces of Change

On a time scale of change, the cultural, social/political drivers and barriers of change take many years (5 – 10 years) to adapt to new circumstances.  Structural, technological, procedural, and resources drivers and barriers are more easily to adapt, and they may become balanced in a few years time (1 – 3 years). Complex organizations have difficulty with innovation. They have to perform a delicate balancing act between opposing forces and coalitions. For effective product innovation the following sets of dialogic activities need to be taken into account (Dougherty 1996):

  1. Conceptualizing the product to enable the integration of market needs and technological potential (market-technology linking): balancing the tension between outside and inside
  2. Organizing the process to accommodate creative problem solving: balancing the tension between old and new
  3. Monitoring the process (value chain): balancing the tension between determination and emergence
  4. Developing commitment to the effort of innovation: balancing the tension between freedom and responsibility.

These tensions impact on the forces of change in many confusing ways, because actors involved may favor a mixture of these opposing forces. A production manager, for good reasons may be inclined to choose for improving the technological potential (inside), taking on board, advances in technology (new), keeping in control of the existing production process (determination), and staying committed to the available production capacities (responsibility). The marketing manager also for good reasons may be in favor of addressing the market needs (outside), opportunities (new), new markets (emergence), and flexibility to act swiftly (freedom).

In management practice, during the ongoing negotiations about suitable strategies, coalitions emerge, or are built by actors on opposite sides of the tension scales.   Agreeing or disagreeing on explicit and local knowledge may turn out to be easier than on the less tangible tacit understanding and encultured knowledge, because the actors involved may not be fully aware of the way they convey that silent language.  As a consequence, their body language may express a message different from their spoken and written messages.

For more details, see Chapter 11 of the book: 
The Magic Circle: Principles of Gaming & Simulation