Academic journal article Tamara : Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science

Evaluating Organizational Change: The Role of Ontology and Epistemology

Academic journal article Tamara : Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science

Evaluating Organizational Change: The Role of Ontology and Epistemology

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The evaluation of organizational change is a thorny issue. Firstly, accurate data depicting the organization's response to a change process are very difficult to collect, and the process can be corrupted by the Macnamara Fallacy. Secondly, the evaluative conclusions derived from the data are complex high-inference chains of reasoning based on implicit, taken-for-granted beliefs and values. Specifically, ontological and epistemological paradigms broadly determine the context for the conclusions of the evaluative inference, even though they are rarely made explicit. This paper presents two sets of ontological and epistemological paradigms; one set is modernist, and the other is postmodernist. It then applies them to organizational change data to demonstrate the divergent evaluations that can be constructed.

INTRODUCTION

The role of ontological and epistemological paradigms in the evaluation of organizational change is the global focus of this paper (O'Donnell, O'Regan & Coates, 2000). Specifically, it deals with the interpretation of research data associated with the evaluation of a professional development program that aimed to assist a manufacturing organization to transform its firefighting culture into a learning culture. The impetus for the paper was the divergence in the interpretations of the evaluation data by some of the management and the researchers (authors). …

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