Sackmann, S A and Eggenhofer-Rehart, P and Friesl, M (2009) Sustainable change: long-term efforts toward developing a learning organization. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 45 (4). pp. 521-549. ISSN 0021-8863
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Globalization and intensified competition require organizations to change and adapt to dynamic environments in order to stay competitive. This article describes a longitudinal action research study supporting the strategic change of a trading company. The strategic change was accompanied by planned changes in organizational structures and processes, management systems, emerging changes in leadership, and organization members’ attitudes and behaviors, and it was supported by management development activities. Longitudinal data over a 4-year period including participant observation and interviews reveal that a systemic approach, a learning and becoming perspective toward change, trust, an appropriate role perception, and the specific use of management instruments contribute to sustained change that resulted in performance improvements and a move toward a learning organization. We conclude with implications for strategic change and suggestions for further research in this area.
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