Professional discourses and resistance to change

Jos H. Pieterse, Marjolein C. J. Caniels*, Thijs Homan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate how resistance to change might be a consequence of differences in professional discourse of professional groups working together in a change program.
    Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses discourse analysis and rubrics to study the implementation of a new ICT system for an airline. Data for this case study were collected in semi-structured interviews, desk research, participant observations and a diagnostic workshop.
    Findings - The data suggest that the non-aligned interaction between different professional discourses can be a source of resistance to change, in addition to other well-known sources of resistance to change in the change management literature. Future research regarding change management should incorporate linguistics and discourse analysis. Investigating resistance to change could be done comprehensively, paying attention to differences in professional cultures in cross-functional (project) teams. A managerial implication of the study is that making differences in professional discourses explicit is a constant point of attention in (project) teams.
    Research limitations/implications - The authors' choices with regard to the sample size and methods limit the generalisability of the results. However, these choices were instrumental in reaching a rich set of data, which enabled the authors to get an understanding of the conversational dynamics in the case.
    Originality/value - The paper argues that change programs contain subjective, informal and linguistic dimensions which might give reasons for understanding resistance to change in new ways. The theoretical contribution of the paper is that it integrates change management literature with linguistic literature about professional discourse.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)798-818
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
    Volume25
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • Discourse
    • Resistance to change
    • Organizational change
    • Professional groups
    • Linguistics
    • Attitudes
    • ORGANIZATIONAL-CHANGE
    • COMMUNICATION
    • CONVERSATIONS
    • CHALLENGES
    • STORY
    • POWER
    • FIRM

    Cite this

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    title = "Professional discourses and resistance to change",
    abstract = "Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate how resistance to change might be a consequence of differences in professional discourse of professional groups working together in a change program.Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses discourse analysis and rubrics to study the implementation of a new ICT system for an airline. Data for this case study were collected in semi-structured interviews, desk research, participant observations and a diagnostic workshop.Findings - The data suggest that the non-aligned interaction between different professional discourses can be a source of resistance to change, in addition to other well-known sources of resistance to change in the change management literature. Future research regarding change management should incorporate linguistics and discourse analysis. Investigating resistance to change could be done comprehensively, paying attention to differences in professional cultures in cross-functional (project) teams. A managerial implication of the study is that making differences in professional discourses explicit is a constant point of attention in (project) teams.Research limitations/implications - The authors' choices with regard to the sample size and methods limit the generalisability of the results. However, these choices were instrumental in reaching a rich set of data, which enabled the authors to get an understanding of the conversational dynamics in the case.Originality/value - The paper argues that change programs contain subjective, informal and linguistic dimensions which might give reasons for understanding resistance to change in new ways. The theoretical contribution of the paper is that it integrates change management literature with linguistic literature about professional discourse.",
    keywords = "Discourse, Resistance to change, Organizational change, Professional groups, Linguistics, Attitudes, ORGANIZATIONAL-CHANGE, COMMUNICATION, CONVERSATIONS, CHALLENGES, STORY, POWER, FIRM",
    author = "Pieterse, {Jos H.} and Caniels, {Marjolein C. J.} and Thijs Homan",
    year = "2012",
    doi = "10.1108/09534811211280573",
    language = "English",
    volume = "25",
    pages = "798--818",
    journal = "Journal of Organizational Change Management",
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    }

    Professional discourses and resistance to change. / Pieterse, Jos H.; Caniels, Marjolein C. J.; Homan, Thijs.

    In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 25, No. 6, 2012, p. 798-818.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Professional discourses and resistance to change

    AU - Pieterse, Jos H.

    AU - Caniels, Marjolein C. J.

    AU - Homan, Thijs

    PY - 2012

    Y1 - 2012

    N2 - Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate how resistance to change might be a consequence of differences in professional discourse of professional groups working together in a change program.Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses discourse analysis and rubrics to study the implementation of a new ICT system for an airline. Data for this case study were collected in semi-structured interviews, desk research, participant observations and a diagnostic workshop.Findings - The data suggest that the non-aligned interaction between different professional discourses can be a source of resistance to change, in addition to other well-known sources of resistance to change in the change management literature. Future research regarding change management should incorporate linguistics and discourse analysis. Investigating resistance to change could be done comprehensively, paying attention to differences in professional cultures in cross-functional (project) teams. A managerial implication of the study is that making differences in professional discourses explicit is a constant point of attention in (project) teams.Research limitations/implications - The authors' choices with regard to the sample size and methods limit the generalisability of the results. However, these choices were instrumental in reaching a rich set of data, which enabled the authors to get an understanding of the conversational dynamics in the case.Originality/value - The paper argues that change programs contain subjective, informal and linguistic dimensions which might give reasons for understanding resistance to change in new ways. The theoretical contribution of the paper is that it integrates change management literature with linguistic literature about professional discourse.

    AB - Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate how resistance to change might be a consequence of differences in professional discourse of professional groups working together in a change program.Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses discourse analysis and rubrics to study the implementation of a new ICT system for an airline. Data for this case study were collected in semi-structured interviews, desk research, participant observations and a diagnostic workshop.Findings - The data suggest that the non-aligned interaction between different professional discourses can be a source of resistance to change, in addition to other well-known sources of resistance to change in the change management literature. Future research regarding change management should incorporate linguistics and discourse analysis. Investigating resistance to change could be done comprehensively, paying attention to differences in professional cultures in cross-functional (project) teams. A managerial implication of the study is that making differences in professional discourses explicit is a constant point of attention in (project) teams.Research limitations/implications - The authors' choices with regard to the sample size and methods limit the generalisability of the results. However, these choices were instrumental in reaching a rich set of data, which enabled the authors to get an understanding of the conversational dynamics in the case.Originality/value - The paper argues that change programs contain subjective, informal and linguistic dimensions which might give reasons for understanding resistance to change in new ways. The theoretical contribution of the paper is that it integrates change management literature with linguistic literature about professional discourse.

    KW - Discourse

    KW - Resistance to change

    KW - Organizational change

    KW - Professional groups

    KW - Linguistics

    KW - Attitudes

    KW - ORGANIZATIONAL-CHANGE

    KW - COMMUNICATION

    KW - CONVERSATIONS

    KW - CHALLENGES

    KW - STORY

    KW - POWER

    KW - FIRM

    U2 - 10.1108/09534811211280573

    DO - 10.1108/09534811211280573

    M3 - Article

    VL - 25

    SP - 798

    EP - 818

    JO - Journal of Organizational Change Management

    JF - Journal of Organizational Change Management

    SN - 0953-4814

    IS - 6

    ER -