2018-12-11 12:00 - Maintenance complete.

Towards re-imagining the roles of change agents from a critical complexity perspective : an exploratory action research approach

Cloete, Gideon Stephanus (2017-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Research on the theoretical conceptualisations and research methods informing current change agency theory and practice in the field of Organisation Theory (OT) in general, and Organisational Change and Development (OCD) in particular, are deficient to engage with the inherently complex nature of business organisations. The dominant paradigm applied in organisational change interventions assumes that change happens through linear cause and effect approaches, which can be enhanced by technical skills, with the aim of maximising optimisation strategies. The theoretical and practical contributions by organisational scholars to important mainstream debates on alternative conceptualisations and methods to explore and re-think change agency have been limited. The purpose of this dissertation is to cultivate and foster a re-think of the role of change agents in OCD interventions by employing a critical complexity lens to shift their current spiritual identity praxis towards co-creating alternative complexity-informed change agency praxis. The following framings are explored: new avenues for providing complexity-informed interpretations of change, organisational structure and function in general, but more specifically alternative change agency as informed by identity and spirituality in OCD interventions. A critical complexity lens is adopted for exploring and re-thinking the interactional nature of both identity and spirituality of change agents. The study highlights these notions as possible entry points for reflecting on novel change agency praxis. It is argued that the notion of ‘spiritual identity praxis’ (ways of being-becoming) enables the co-exploration and co-creation of complexity-informed theoretical and methodological contributions to organisational change agency and mainstream debates on OCD. The study explored whether OCD practitioners could reflect on their current spiritual identity praxis and what the implications were of re-thinking their current roles as change agents when employing critical complexity as a lens. Co-operative Inquiry (CI) was used, which is ideally suited to explore a participatory worldview for co-creating propositional, experiential, practical and presentational knowledge. With the aid of multiple qualitative methods, CI enabled the co-creation of a re-imagined spiritual identity praxis heuristics framework. Collaborating with six OCD practitioners, a co-created community of practice was established which reflected over a period of eighteen months, on processes of: (i) engagement with ideas of complexity thinking and its influence on change agents; (ii) spiritual identity and the co-operative inquiry process in contributing to a deeper reflection on their perspectives as change agents; (iii) spiritual identity praxis in framing the roles of change agents in change interventions; and (iv) authentic co-operation and collaboration during the co-operative inquiry process. The research findings confirm the importance of: (i) embracing complexity thinking as change agents; (ii) navigating ambiguity and incongruence of spiritual identity; (iii) becoming aware of the relational constitutedness of spiritual identity praxis; and (iv) the utility of critical complexity integrated with CI in co-creating resilient heuristics through authentic collaboration and co-operation, which fosters complexity-informed spiritual identity praxis heuristics. The study contributes to an extended understanding of change agency praxis, provides a framework for re-imagined complexity-informed being-becoming praxis in change agency, and offers non-linear pathways to distil iterative principles and reflective signposts for complexity-informed OCD praxis.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die inherente aard van besigheidsorganisasies is kompleks. Navorsing wat die huidige verstaan voorhou met betrekking tot die teoretiese konseptualiserings, asook navorsingsmetodes wat gebruik word om die hedendaagse teorie en praktyk van die veranderingsagent in die velde van Organisasie Teorie (OT) in die algemeen, en Organisatoriese Verandering en Ontwikkeling (OVO) in besonder, te belig, is onvoldoende om met die kompleksiteit van besigheidsorganisasies in gesprek te tree. Die dominante paradigma wat in OVO intervensies toegepas word, gaan van die veronderstelling uit dat verandering teweeg gebring word deur liniêre oorsaak-gevolg benaderinge met die hulp van verbetering in tegniese vaardighede met die doel om optimaliseringstrategieë te maksimaliseer. Die teoretiese en praktiese bydraes deur organisatoriese navorsers tot die belangrike hoofstroom debatte oor alternatiewe konseptualiserings en metodieke om die veranderingsagent te herbeskou en veranderingsagentwees te verken en heroorweeg, is beperk. Die doel van hierdie dissertasie is die kweking en bevordering van ‘n heroorweging van die rol van veranderingsagente en veranderingsagentwees in OVO intervensies. Daar word gebruik gemaak van ‘n kritiese kompleksiteitslens waardeur ‘n verskuiwing teweeg gebring word in die rol van die veranderingsagent, naamlik, ‘n beweging vanaf die huidige spirituele identiteitspraksis na die mede-skepping van ‘n alternatiewe kompleksiteit-ingeligte praksis van die veranderingsagent. Die volgende raamwerke word verkennend ondersoek: nuwe weë vir die voorsiening van kompleksiteit-ingeligte interpretasies van verandering, organisasie struktuur en funksie in die algemeen, maar in besonder die vorming van ‘n alternatiewe veranderingsagentwees vanuit die bydrae wat identiteit en spiritualiteit in OVO intervensies maak. ‘n Kritiese kompleksiteitslens word ingespan met die oog op die verkenning en herbeskouing van die interaksionele aard van beide die identiteit en spiritualiteit van veranderingsagente. Die studie belig hierdie twee begrippe as moontlike vertrekpunte vir die herbeskouing oor ‘n nuwe veranderingsagentwees praksis. Daar word geargumenteer dat die begrip ‘spirituele identiteitspraksis’ (wesend-wordend) die mede-verkenning en –skepping van kompleksiteit-ingeligte teoretiese en metodologiese bydraes tot die organisatoriese veranderingsagentwees, asook hoofstroom debatte oor OVO, moontlik maak. Die studie ondersoek die mate waartoe OVO praktisyns oor hulle huidige spirituele identiteitspraksis kon reflekteer, asook wat die implikasies daarvan was vir die herbeskouing van hulle huidige rolle as veranderingsagente deur die kritiese kompleksiteitslens. Die aksienavorsing metodiek van Koöperatiewe Ondersoek (KO) is gebruik. Dié proses is ideaal geskik om ‘n deelnemende wêreldbeeld te verken deur die mede-skepping van proposisionele–, praktiese–, ervarings–, en oordragskennis. Die proses van KO het, met die hulp van verskeie kwalitatiewe metodes, die mede-skepping moontlik gemaak van ‘n herbeskoude spirituele identiteitspraksis heuristiese raamwerk. In samewerking met ses OVO praktisyns is ‘n mede-geskepte OVO praktyksgemeenskap tot stand gebring wat oor ‘n periode van agtien maande heen reflekteer het oor die volgende prosesse: (i) omarming van kompleksiteitsdenke en die invloed daarvan op veranderingsagente; (ii) spirituele identiteit en die proses van koöperatiewe ondersoek as bydrae tot dieper nadenke oor veranderingsagent perspektiewe; (iii) spirituele identiteitspraksis as vormingsproses vir die rolle van die veranderingsagente in veranderingsintervensies; en (iv) outentieke mede– en samewerking gedurende die KO proses. Die bevindinge van die navorsing bevestig die belangrikheid van: (i) die omarming van kompleksiteitsdenke as veranderingsagente; (ii) navigasie van dubbelsinnigheid en inkongruensie van spirituele identiteit; (iii) ‘n bewustheid van die verhoudingsbegrondheid van spirituele identiteitspraksis; en (iv) die nut van kritiese kompleksiteit geïntegreer met KO in die mede-skepping van veerkragtige heuristieke deur outentieke same– en medewerking, wat kompleksiteit-ingeligte spirituele identiteitspraksis heuristieke bevorder. Die studie maak ‘n bydrae tot ‘n uitgebreide verstaan van veranderingsagentwees praksis; voorsien ‘n herbeskoude raamwerk vir ‘n kompleksiteit-ingeligte ‘wesend-wordend praksis’ in die veranderingsagent; en bied nie-lineêre benaderings aan, om iteratiewe beginsels en reflektiewe wegwysers vir kompleksiteit-ingeligte OVO praksis te distilleer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102961
This item appears in the following collections: