How change management is influenced by differences in professional discourses: A preliminary conceptualizing study on the adoption of an ICT tool for service engineers

Jos Pieterse, Jan Ulijn, Thijs Homan


This article describes the process of organizational change due to technological evolutions, suggesting that community-specific differences in discourse may have a considerable influence on its success. The questions for this study focus on: 1) how do we define a technically oriented employee who has to cope with organizational change? 2) Which factors determine the reaction to organizational change projects in which these technically oriented employees are involved? And 3) what are the consequences of these specific characters of technically oriented employees for implementing change programs in the most effective manner? First, while the present studies on professional communication do not pay any attention to change management, the current models of change management also barely pay attention to (professional) discourse. Second, we examine culture, which can be divided into national culture (NC), organizational culture (OC), and professional culture (PC). In this case study, we focus on the professional cultures of specific (change) managers and technicians and their discourse in the utilities sector. After this, we describe the case study, which exemplifies how change results can be influenced. It seems that within a technical environment, the change process and interventions need to be specific, concrete, and to the point. However, there also seems to be a dilemma between universal (e.g. mechanistic and formal) and contingency (e.g. organic, informal and emergent) approaches to the change process. The results of this study show the need to analyze cultures through discourse and through PC as a way to differentiate discourse between technical and non-technical employees. We suggest further research on three aspects that interfere and influence the change effort: context, discourse, and professional cultures of (change) managers and technicians.


Change Management, Professional Discourse, Professional Cultures

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