Explaining Development and Change in Organizations

Andrew H. Van De Ven, Marshall Scott Poole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article introduces four basic theories that may serve as building blocks for explaining processes of change in organizations: life cycle, teleology, dialectics, and evolution. These four theories represent different sequences of change events that are driven by different conceptual motors and operate at different organizational levels. This article identifies the circumstances when each theory applies and proposes how interplay among the theories produces a wide variety of more complex theories of change and development in organizational life.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-540
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • industrial organization
  • organizational change
  • organizational growth
  • organizational structure
  • organizational sociology
  • industrial management
  • organizational death
  • innovation adoption
  • social change
  • dialectic


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