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Change happens: redefining organizational social structures to match who we are Open Access


Other title
Balanced Scorecard
organizational identity
organizational change
structuration theory
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ogata, Ken
Supervisor and department
Cooper, David (Business)
Greenwood, Royston (Business)
Examining committee member and department
McWatters, Cheryl (Business)
Krahn, Harvey (Sociology)
Balogun, Julia (external)
Faculty of Business

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This longitudinal case study examines how the process of radical organizational change unfolded within EES Consulting (EES). EES was an international engineering and environmental services consulting firm that experienced significant internal cultural difficulties in the early 1990s, such that OCI Consulting predicted the firm would fail within 18 months. This study focuses upon the Canadian operations, and their experience in becoming a top company to work for in Canada following their adoption of the Balanced Scorecard in 1999. The study employed a mixed-methods methodology, involving semi-structured and informal interviews, participant observation, third-party survey data, and internal corporate documents. Based upon this data, EES’ experience did not conform to that described by traditional change models (Lewin’s three-stage, punctuated equilibrium, or organizational development models) in terms of the pace, sequence, or linearity of change. Rather, EES’ experience was more consistent with recent conceptualizations of change as a continuous, emergent process, involving loops and iterations. Although EES members suggested that change was attributable to their adoption of the Balanced Scorecard, this technology merely served as the catalyst for subsequent organizational social dynamics that produced change. Specifically, change at EES occurred through negotiated redefinition of the social structures governing members’ actions. Thus, radical organizational change represented an act of social construction between members. This study’s key contribution is the development of a theoretical extension to Giddens’ (1984) structuration theory, involving a synthesis with the concept of organizational identity. Organizational identity is defined as the key interpretive scheme mediating the relationship between the institutional realm and action. Modifying identity enables alternative conceptualizations of structure, which consequently enable new courses of action by members. However, lasting change depends upon the continued legitimation and reproduction of these alternative structures, combined with the abandonment of previous structures.
License granted by Ken Ogata ( on 2010-12-30T17:21:46Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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