Deterministic and Voluntaristic Theories of Organizational Change

  • Nicole Zimmermann


There are many schools of thought concerned with organizations and their evolution. Innovation research, for example, focuses on process and product innovations in business. Institutional theories and industrial organization deal with market exchanges. Strategic management is concerned with the competitiveness of companies. Many theories pay attention to single aspects in organizations such as power, culture, or sensemaking. Additionally, there are practical approaches such as change management and organization development, aiming at successful change implementation. This dissertation, however, concentrates on organization theory and its sub-category of organizational change. The reason is their focus on behavioral elements of decision-making. Structure and process are both important in organization theory, and some theories even take into account cognitive elements of decisionmakers. 27 The organization theory approach also incorporates many of the aspects of strategic management, the dynamic capabilities view, and innovation research. This, together with decision-behavioral elements, makes it particularly suited for the analysis of change in organizations.


Organizational Change Strategic Choice Aspiration Level Behavioral Theory Strategic Management Journal 
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© Gabler Verlag | Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2011

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  • Nicole Zimmermann

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