Evaluating Organizational Change: The Role of Ontology and Epistemology.

Jim Butler, Fiona Scott, John Edwards


The evaluation of organizational change is a thorny issue. Firstly, accurate data depicting the organization's response to a change process are very difficult to collect, and the process can be corrupted by the Macnamara Fallacy. Secondly, the evaluative conclusions derived from the data are complex high-inference chains of reasoning based on implicit, taken-for-granted beliefs and values. Specifically, ontological and epistemological paradigms broadly determine the context for the conclusions of the evaluative inference, even though they are rarely made explicit. This paper presents two sets of ontological and epistemological paradigms; one set is modernist, and the other is postmodernist. It then applies them to organizational change data to demonstrate the divergent evaluations that can be constructed.


ORGANIZATIONAL change; ORGANIZATIONAL structure; PERSONNEL changes; management' postmodernism

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