Article | Academy of Management Journal | April 2012

Change Agents, Networks, and Institutions: A Contingency Theory of Organizational Change

by Julie Battilana and Tiziana Casciaro

Abstract

We develop a contingency theory for how structural closure in a network, defined as the extent to which an actor's network contacts are connected to one another, affects the initiation and adoption of change in organizations. Using longitudinal survey data supplemented with eight in-depth case studies, we analyze 68 organizational change initiatives undertaken in the United Kingdom's National Health Service. We show that low levels of structural closure (i.e., structural holes) in a change agent's network aid the initiation and adoption of changes that diverge from the institutional status quo but hinder the adoption of less divergent changes.

Keywords: Networks; Theory; Organizations; Change;

Citation:

Battilana, Julie, and Tiziana Casciaro. "Change Agents, Networks, and Institutions: A Contingency Theory of Organizational Change." Academy of Management Journal 55, no. 2 (April 2012).