An additional perspective on change management: An exploratory study of the application of specific Fractal geometry principles to change situations in light of complex responsive processes
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Application of Fractal Theory to Strategic Change Management (English)
Rapid technological advances, persistent globalisation, hypercompetitive markets and demanding consumers have created an exponentially fluctuating environment. Consequently, organisational change management is viewed as a necessity. Orgnanisations change constantly not just to prosper but simply to survive. This has led to the proliferation of various change management theories. Initial developments focused on incremental and transformational change orientations. Subsequent change theories drew inspiration from multidisciplinary fields of study. The complex systemic perspective led to chaos, dissipative structures and complex adaptive theories. In contrast, the complex responsive perspective provides a more open non-deterministic approach. Given that the world is becoming increasingly complex and organisations continue to fail in the implementation of change initiatives, there is still room for an additional perspective to analyse change practices. This author has previously published research on fractal geometry (Nikora, 2000). Fractal geometry differs from standard geometry to the extent that it deals with shapes that are infinitely irregular. A fractal shape is a complex shape which, when viewed in finer and finer details, shows itself to be constructed of ever smaller parts.
The purpose of this thesis is to create new metaphors based on specific elements of fractal geometry to analyse organisational change management, thereby establishing an additional perspective. Although fractal theory has been mentioned in management in a very basic and broad sense, it has never been applied in terms of specific fractal geometric principles. This study therefore, explores and analyzes the various characteristics of change initiatives found in a sample of international organisations within the context of particular principles drawn from fractal geometry to refine new metaphors. The study primarily explores the perceptions of management practitioners, who have initiated or observed organisational change. Their perceptions helped synthesise a managerial or expert view. At the same time, the study explores the viewpoint of non-managerial organisational members to provide more rich and diverse data for analysis. The cross-sectional study utilises a three-pronged research method of multiple-choice survey, open-ended questionnaire, and flexible semi-structured interview. The data obtained from the survey is analysed using a quantitative approach, whilst the data from the questionnaire and the interview is analysed using a qualitative approach.
A conceptual model is derived and new terminology is developed to establish the additional perspective on change management. The main metaphors and new terminology focus on how change may be introduced into the organisation (eg. fractal top down cascade or stochastic fractal self organisation) and how change may appear in the organisation (eg. fractal self similarity or fractal self affinity). Furthermore, a potential link is explored between the fractal dimension of change initiatives and their possible success. Given time considerations, and the ambiguity of the notion of success, this study does not prove or explain any causative relationships, it simply presents an additional way in which we can organise and process information about organisations so as to aid clarity in an increasingly complicated world. The study is beneficial to practitioners since the identified fractal metaphors can be used as a checklist of points to keep in mind when implementing change initiatives, thereby ensuring important issues are addressed. The study is beneficial to academics, since it contributes new knowledge and applies fractal geometry in a way it has not been applied before, thereby creating new provocative metaphors and an additional perspective with which to analyse change.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 155 p.
fractal geometry, change management, self similarity, self affinity, stochastic, fractal top down cascade, fractal self organisation
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-40076ISRN: NaOAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-40076DiVA: diva2:397809
UppsokSocial and Behavioural Science, Law
Wåhlin, Nils, Associate Professor
Bergh, Pontus, Studierektor