Theories of Organizational Change as Assemblages

Marshall Scott Poole, Andrew H. Van de Ven

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Most observed processes of organization change far exceed the explanatory capabilities of any one theory. As the handbook chapters have shown, organization changes unfold in complex ways at multiple embedded levels over time on many interrelated issues, and involve multiple agents with diverse sensemakings, emotions, and actions. How are we to explain this complexity? This is a paradox for theory builders. On the one hand our theories must be accurate enough to explain the complexity, yet on the other hand simple enough to understand and guide behavior. We attempt to address this paradox by proposing a few simple models that are useful for explaining general patterns, and then to unpack and reconnect these models as assemblages or modules for addressing different contexts and shifting conditions in organization change processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Organizational Change and Innovation
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780198845973
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Complex organization change
  • Hybrid models
  • Multi-level change
  • Organization change assemblages
  • Temporal patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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