Some Unanticipated Consequences of Organizational Restructuring
Academy of Management Review, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 735-752, 2000
39 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2007
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
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