Authors: Patrick Dawson, Jimmy Huang
Addresses: University of Aberdeen Business School, Edward Wright Building, Aberdeen, AB24 3QY, Scotland, UK. ' Nottingham University Business School, Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Road, Nottingham, NG8 1BB, UK
Abstract: This paper examines the dynamic relationship between organising knowledge and political process in the context of business process redesign (BPR). Empirical evidence was collected from one of the biggest retailers in the UK. Findings derived from a qualitative analysis of longitudinal case study data suggest that change involves complex battles of stories that inform and shape both how knowledge is organised and how knowledge organises. These contested stories illustrate how there is rather more going on than a simple replacement of one organisational narrative with a new consensual meta-narrative. Although BPR introduced a version of change that seeks to claim a preferential right of interpretation and officiality, the ambiguity of the concept leaves open room for ||political|| manoeuvring. We conclude that the emergence of dominant official story of change (which represents a form of ||stored|| knowledge on change) remains open to redefinition. The coexistence of competing narratives demonstrates how the collective sense making of new business processes is not simply based on an uncontested version of past and present experience, but is intrinsically a political process in which organisational members attempt to re-landscape collective views on change.
Keywords: organising knowledge; political process; business process redesign; organisational change; processual; narrative.
International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management, 2003 Vol.1 No.4, pp.373 - 388
Published online: 10 May 2004 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article