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Barbara Czarniawska. Organizational change: Fashions, Institutions and Translations

Chapter in book
Authors Hervé Corvellec
Ulla Eriksson-Zetterquist
Published in Szabla, David B., Pasmore, William A., Barnes, Mary A., & Gipson, Asha N. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Organizational Change Thinkers
ISBN 978-3-319-49820-1
Publisher Springer International Publishing
Publication year 2017
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Department of Business Administration, Management & Organisation
Language en
Keywords Institutionalism – Imitation – Fashion – Translation – Action net – Ethnography – Narrative – Shadowing
Subject categories Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Business Administration


Combining neo-institutionalism, actor network theory, and Gabriel Tarde’s sociology, Czarniawska considers the key driver of organizational change to be imitation but an imitation that rests on translation. Organizations emulate one another by translating fashionable ideas according to their understanding, traditions, needs, and means. As translation in this tradition always entails a transformation of the translated idea or object, unexpected consequences will be expected. She does not consider these consequences to be necessarily negative; however, because if stabilized and institutionalized, unintended change can turn out to be as positive as planned change. A further strength of Czarniawska’s is her ability to provide methodological tools that follow the translation processes for change: organizational ethnographies, narrative methodology, and shadowing.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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