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Paper info: Picture this: Managed change and resistance in business network settings


Picture this: Managed change and resistance in business network settings


Hanne Kragh and PoulH Andersen

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.


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This paper discusses change management in networks. The literature on business networks tends to downplay the role of managerial initiative underlying the proactive attempts of single actors to install network changes. The change management literature addresses such managerial initiative, however, with its single firm perspective overlooks the interdependence of network actors and relationships. Taking departure in the void between these two streams of literature, we deploy the concept of network pictures to discuss how managers interpret change projects and attempt to manage change in network settings. We analyze a change project from the furniture industry involving multiple actors and address the consequences of attempting to manage change activities in a network context characterized by limited managerial authority over these activities. Our analysis suggests that change efforts rather than being projects mastered by the initiating actor unfold as a negotiated process during which the change project is re-negotiated to fit the multiple actor constituencies. The degree of overlap in the co-existing network pictures of the involved actors is found to be decisive for the possibility to successfully implement network change.