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The Price of Knowledge: A Study of Challenges to Change in Professional Organizations
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Kunskapens pris : En studie av utmaningar vid förändring i professionella organisationer (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Stronger financial pressures are currently challenging previously unopposed ways of directing work within professional organizations, where strong groups characterized by power, prestige and autonomy play a major role. As a result of increased scrutiny of professions from the outside, resistance to change emerges in these settings. Earlier applied frameworks for understanding change mechanisms in a professional setting are however rather limited in their understanding of how change dynamically occurs. By designing a novel, more dynamic framework for organizational change, we aim in this thesis to develop an increased understanding for challenges to change initiatives in professional organizations. Through observational studies and open interviews at a Swedish hospital working with process development based on lean principles, we were able to identify the five discursive practices of “Shielding the Profession”, “Exempting Exceptions”, “Positioning Subjects”, “Casting the Other” and “Engaging” as being typical for professional organizations. By understanding the dynamics of discursive interplay, we could then explain how these practices contributed to three major challenges to change initiatives within professional organizations; “The challenge of novel concepts”, “The challenge of achieving managerial influence” and “The challenge of distance”. Our results should provide a foundation for further studies wanting to explore how change processes strategically can be managed, but could also be used as a tool for managers in professional organizations wanting to understand why change initiatives do not result in desired outcomes.

Abstract [sv]

Dagens ekonomiska klimat sätter press på tidigare sätt att organisera arbete inom professionella organisationer, där starka grupper som karakteriseras av makt, prestige och autonomi har ett stort inflytande. Till följd av en ökad insyn i det professionella arbetet uppstår i denna kontext ett motstånd till förändring. Tidigare studier av förändring inom professionella organisationer uppvisar dock begränsningar i sitt sätt att förstå fenomenet. Genom att designa ett nytt, mer dynamiskt ramverk för undersökande av förändringsprocessen syftar vi med denna rapport till att utöka förståelsen kring utmaningar kopplade till förändringsinitiativ i professionella organisationer. Genom observationsstudier och öppna intervjuer på ett stort svenskt sjukhus där ett leaninspirerat arbetssätt håller på att implementeras identifierade vi de fem diskursiva beteendena: “Shielding the Profession”, “Exempting Exceptions”, “Positioning Subjects”, “Casting the Other” och “Engaging” som kunde anses vara typiska för professionella organisationer generellt. Genom att förstå dynamiken mellan olika diskurser kunde vi sedan förklara hur dessa fem beteenden bidrog till tre huvudsakliga utmaningar kopplade till förändringsinitiativ i professionella organisationer: “The challenge of novel concepts”, “The challenge of achieving managerial influence” och “The challenge of distance”. Våra resultat kan anses utgöra en grund för vidare studier som vill utforska hur förändringsprocesser strategiskt kan påverkas men de kan också användas som ett verktyg av ledare i professionella organisationer som upplever svårigheter att nå önskade resultat av förändringsinitiativ.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 60 p.
Series
Examensarbete INDEK, 2013:119
Keyword [en]
organizational change, professional organization, profession, management, discourse, discursive practices, lean production, healthcare
Keyword [sv]
organisationsförändring, professionell organisation, profession, management, diskurs, diskursiva beteenden, lean production, sjukvård
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-124246OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-124246DiVA: diva2:633933
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2013-07-01 Created: 2013-06-28 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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