Some Unanticipated Consequences of Organizational Restructuring

Academy of Management Review, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 735-752, 2000

39 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2007  

William McKinley

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Andreas Georg Scherer

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration

Abstract

Building on Merton's (1936) classic distinction between intended and unanticipated consequences of purposive action, this paper explores two consequences of organizational restructuring that we argue are unanticipated by managers. At the cognitive level of analysis, we propose that organizational restructuring has the unanticipated consequence of producing cognitive order for top executives. At the environmental level of analysis, organizational restructuring has the unanticipated consequence of contributing to long-term environmental turbulence. Both these unanticipated consequences feed back to promote further organizational restructuring, giving restructuring the character of a self-reinforcing loop. We derive formal propositions from this theoretical framework, discuss issues in testing the propositions, and specify implications for future theory-building and management practice.

Keywords: organizational restructuring

Suggested Citation

McKinley, William and Scherer, Andreas Georg, Some Unanticipated Consequences of Organizational Restructuring. Academy of Management Review, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 735-752, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=971039

William McKinley (Contact Author)

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale ( email )

Rehn Hall - Mail Code 4626
Carbondale, Illinois 62901-6
United States

Andreas Georg Scherer

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 84
Zurich, 8006
Switzerland
+41 44-63 45302 (Phone)
+41 44-63 45301 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uzh.ch/professorships/as.html

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