This dissertation examines the implementation of FREE, an innovation-based, organization-wide workplace flexibility initiative. Through FREE, the company experienced a massive re-structuring to how, when, and where work was done. From its very inception in the company, the FREE concept critiqued and criticized current norms and assumptions about work in corporate America. During FREE training sessions, managers, in particular, began to oppose and resist the rollout. Evident from fieldwork and ethnographic observations of these training sessions, a dialectic model of change fostered a dialectic model of resistance. Resistance emerged at three levels of abstraction: macro, meso, and micro. Analyses indicate that through the operation of these dialectic processes, managers resisted the very idea of changing work on a grad scale, changes in actual work practices, and/or the change agents. In addition, this resistance prompted changes to the change implementation process and FREE, itself, began to change. This dissertation suggests that resistance to change is rooted in conceptualizations of identity and representations of the self in and out of the organization. This work also proposes that resistance to change bears a significant impact on the implementation of the change, so much so that the implementation adapted over time.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2012. Major: Sociology. Advisor: Dr. David Knoke. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 168 pages, appendices A-E.
Engaging the dialectic: managerial resistance to change and innovation in corporate America..
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