Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science

By Jerald Greenberg | Go to book overview

cancer, is unlikely to stimulate quitting in someone addicted to the habit. What is required is the building of trusting relationships, and participation in the exploration and recreation of context.

If we analyze and compare each of the three general strategies, we find positive opposition between the rational-empirical and the normative-re-educative approaches. The underlying assumptions in each are highly contrasting. The former seeks control and values the use of analysis, information, expertise, and authority. The latter seeks development and values hope, involvement, faith, and trust. Each works under specified conditions and each fails when those conditions are not met.

The power--coercive approach takes an external focus on the target of change, values assertiveness and conflict, and looks to pressure the target of change, through positive or negative rewards, into compliance. This approach also works under specified conditions but fails in alternative conditions. Where, however, is the positive opposite of this approach? Is there a viable strategy of change that was missed entirely in the classic paper? Can the logic of the present chapter lead us to discover the potential empty set? We think so.

In applying the principles of this chapter one would begin to look for opposite values that are positively defined. Here the focus would be internal, with the change agent looking to modify self while putting a premium on freedom of choice for other people. Influence would derive not from coercion but from personal attraction and role modeling. Here power derives from the moral force of high integrity. The change agent has influence because the change agent makes personal sacrifice to personify the most central values of integrity and principle driven behavior. The target of change eventually alters behavior out of attraction and choice.

The above approach might be called the self-modification strategy (see Quinn, 1988). It would complement the rational--empirical and normative-re-educative strategies while it would contrast with the power--coercive. The newly articulated strategy might help to understand the power of many of the great transformational leaders such as Gandhi, whom Benne and Chin place in the power--coercive strategy. The last sentence is important. The change efforts of Gandhi, for example, can be fruitfully analyzed from opposing perspectives. More complexly, Gandhi's power may be best understood, not from one or the other, but the fact that it crosses or interpenetrates both general strategies. Such analyses might be fruitful for nearly every topic of change research.


REFERENCES

Aldrich H. E. ( 1979). Organizations and environments. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Aldrich H. E., & Pfeffer J. ( 1976). "Environments of organizations". In R. H. Turner & J. F. Short Jr. (Eds.), Annual Review of Sociology (Vol. 2, pp. 79-105). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews Inc.

Alderfer C. P. ( 1977). "Organization development". In M. R. Rosenzweig & L. W. Porter (Eds.), Annual Review of Psychology (Vol. 28, pp. 197-223). Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews Inc.

Andrews K. R. ( 1971). The concept of corporate strategy. Homewood, IL: Irwin.

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