All change? Managers' experience of organizational change in theory and practice

Jane Andrews*, Helen Cameron, Margaret Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This paper aims to examine the usefulness of organizational change theory for management practice. Design/methodology/approach - The authors present an exploratory, empirical study of managers who were taught organizational change theory as part of a postgraduate degree. Building on the study findings, they analyse managers' subsequent experiences of organizational change; of how they use change theory in practice and the impact on their practice of their earlier formal study. Findings - The paper finds that the complexities of managing change in practice reflect distinctive organizational environments and cultures. The skills and knowledge which managers found most useful were those that enabled them to "make sense" of the organizational change they subsequently experienced. The main impact of their earlier studies was to prompt informative, discursive and reflective approaches to change management. Practical implications - The paper discusses the implications for future teaching of organizational change and the development of organizational change theory. Originality/value - The qualitative findings of the study add to, and help to explain, earlier research findings on the questions of how managers' experience change, how they use organizational change theory and its impact on their practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-314
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • change management
  • education
  • managers
  • public sector organizations


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