CFP | Next concepts for successful organizational change

Call for papers to a special issue of the Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change [VHB***, ABS**, FNEGE*]

Next Concepts for Successful Organizational Change

Guest Editors:

Matthias Georg Will, University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
Steffen Roth, Rennes School of Business, France
Ralf Wetzel, Vlerick Business School, Belgium

This special issue invites conceptual and empirical contributions to the fields of change management and organizational/accounting change. We welcome papers that address the general significance of theorizing or reappraise classical key concepts and their adequacy to the post-millennium context. We are also keen to read systematic investigations of interfaces and interdependencies of management and organization theory and social theory. Ambitious contributions may explore possible futures of theorizing on change management and organizational/accounting change.

This special issue will address different conceptual challenges that have been discovered and discussed in the past years. We also intend to close gaps between research in our field and relevant developments in other management disciplines. We have identified the subsequent, non-exclusive list of trends and issues that might encourage further developments in change management:

  • Burnes and Cooke (2012; pp. 1416-1417) prominently argue that many change management projects fail because change managers may have underlying normative assumptions that conflict with employees’ interests. Burnes and Cooke criticize that this is not just a failure of practitioners. Moreover, they argue that this fallacy bases on theoretical concepts with problematic normative assumptions. This argument has become more and more popular within our field (Ford et al., 2008, pp. 362-363, Oswick et al., 2005, p. 384, Sturdy and Grey, 2003, pp. 654-656, Will, 2014, Will, 2015a). Overcoming these deficiencies, contributions to this issue might reveal implicit normative assumptions of change management theories and how we could deal with normativity in a constructive way.
  • Many different schools of thought have influenced research in the field of organizational change: organizational behaviorists, institutionalists, systems theorists, and economists. From our point of view, a lot of energy has been wasted on fruitless competitions between these schools. We suggest that the different research traditions might be complementary as soon as we do not focus on their key assumptions or models, but rather the underlying core research problems. In this sense, contributions might develop conceptual tools for the observation of how individual behavior, institutions, and mental models are interdependent and manageable within change processes (Heracleous and Barrett, 2001, Will, 2015b).
  • Organizational change is usually a multi-level matter. Scholars from the so-called micro-foundations literature argue that management research has so far failed to understand links between different organizational levels, for example, between the individual micro level and the organization as an entity (Abell et al., 2008, Felin, 2015). This line of argument can be traced back to Coleman’s (1986) famous article on social theory, social research, and a theory of action. This line or research argues that without an appropriate understanding of the links between the different organizational levels, management research might systematically cause fallacies. Against this backdrop, this discussion might be highly fruitful for our field because change managers have to develop strategies (this takes place primarily on the macro level), they have to implement these strategies on the individual micro-level and have to consider the consequences of these changes for the whole organization (the aggregation of individual behavior).
  • Games have recently been observed to be powerful tools for organizational change and social transformation (Andersen, 2001, Andersen and Pors, 2014, Roth, 2015, Roth et al., 2015). We are hence welcoming submissions that cultivate a deliberately playful attitude to core concepts in change management and accounting.
  • Successful organizational change is also a matter of adequate measures for success and failure (Wetzel and Dievernich, 2014, Wetzel and van Lore, 2014), which again are contingent on the underlying concepts and definitions of organizations. We hence encourage submissions that engage in a discussion of dominant and alternative ways of identification of key variables in organizational change, thus also opening up horizons for broader concepts of organizational performance and (social) accounting or accountability, respectively (Roth, 2014, Roth and Schütz, 2015, Roth and Kaivo-oja, 2016). We are particularly interested in approaches that may link the change management literature with theories of social differentiation.

Each article should not exceed 10,000 words including references and tables/figures.

Deadline for submission is November 30, 2016 via online: For submission guidelines, visit: Accepted papers will be published around late 2017.

CFP available for download here.

If you have any questions considering this special issue you can contact Matthias Georg Will, Steffen Roth, or Ralf Wetzel.


Abell, Peter, Teppo Felin, and Nicolai Foss (2008): Building Micro-foundations for the Routines, Capabilities, and Performance Links, in: Managerial and Decision Economics, Vol. 29, pp. 489-502.

Andersen, Niels Åkerstrøm (2001) Power at Play. The Relationships between Play, Work and Governance, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Andersen, Niels Åkerstrøm and Justine Grønbæk Pors (2014) Playful membership: embracing an unknown future, Management & Organizational History, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 166-183.

Burnes, Bernard, and Bill Cooke (2012): The Past, Present and Future of Organization Development: Taking the Long View, in: Human Relations, Vol. 65, No. 11, pp. 1395-1429.

Coleman, James S. (1986): Social Theory, Social Research, and a Theory of Action, in: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 91, No. 6, pp. 1309-1335.

Felin, Teppo, Nicolai J. Foss, and Robert E. Polyhart (2015): The Microfoundations Movement in Strategy and Organization Theory, in: The Academy of Management Annals, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 575-632.

Ford, Jeffrey D., Laurie W. Ford and Angelo D’Amelio (2008): Resistance to Change: The Rest of the Story, in: Academy of Management Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 362-377.

Heracleous, Loizos, and Michael Barrett (2001): Organizational Change as Discourse: Communicative Actions and Deep Structures in the Context of Information Technology Implementation, in: Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 755-778.

Oswick, Cliff, David Grant, Grant Michelsonaund and Nick Wailes (2005): Looking Forwards: Discursive Directions in Organizational Change, in: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 383-390.

Roth, Steffen (2014) The multifunctional organization: Two cases for a critical update for research programs in management and organization, in: Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 37-54

Roth, Steffen (2015) Serious Gamification On the Redesign of a Popular Paradox, in: Games and Culture, online first April 16, 2015.

Roth, Steffen, Dirk Schneckenberg, and Chia-Wen Tsai (2015) The Ludic Drive as Innovation Driver: Introduction to the Gamification of Innovation, in: Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 300-306.

Roth, Steffen and Jari Kaivo-oja (2016) Is the future a political economy? Functional analysis of three leading foresight and futures studies journals, in Futures, online first October 22, 2015.

Roth, Steffen and Anton Schütz,(2015) Ten systems. Toward a canon of function systems, in Cybernetics and Human Knowing, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 11-31.

Sturdy, Andrew, and Christopher Grey (2003): Beneath and Beyond Organizational Change Management: Exploring Alternatives, in: Organization, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 651-662.

Wetzel, Ralf and Frank Dievernich (2014) Mind the Gap. The Relevance of Postchange Periods for Organizational Sensemaking, In: Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 280-300.

Wetzel, Ralf and Lore van Gorp (2014) Eighteen shades of grey? An explorative literature review into the theoretical flavours of organizational change research, in: Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 115-146.

Will, Matthias Georg (2014): Successful Organizational Change Through Overcoming Risks, in: Change Management and the Human Factor: Advances, Challenges and Contradictions in Organizational Development, edited by Frank E. P. Dievernich, Kim Oliver Tokarski and Jie Gong, Springer, Berlin, pp. 129-151.

Will, Matthias Georg (2015a): Successful Organizational Change Through Win-Win: How Change Managers can Organize Mutual Benefits, in: Journal of Accounting and Organizational Change, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 193-214.

Will, Matthias Georg (2015b): Change-Management gestalten: Pro-aktiv und im wechselseitigen Interesse Organisationen wandeln, wvb Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, Berlin.

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