Organizational change, learning and innovation

For contemporary organizations, transformation seems to be the norm rather than the exception. Environments are changing rapidly and becoming evermore complex, which imposes constant demands on organizations to adapt to this turbulence. In the public and private sector alike, effectively and strategically dealing with turbulence has become a critical resource that distingishes succesful from non-succesful organizations.

Organizations are urged to take control of change rather than be controlled by it. I am interested in how organizations adopt changes in their structures or processes, and how organizations innovate to cope with external demands and turbulence. Particularly in the public sector, the high demands that are placed to perform against a background of budget scarcity increasingly requires public organizations to “do things differently” and experiment with new and innovative solutions.

Dealing strategically with change also requires an understanding of the potential drawbacks of the internal turbulence and uncertainties that change might bring about. I am interested in the potentially negative psychological effects of organizational change on employees, which might make inviduals and organizations more risk-averse and rigid, paradoxically leading to less innovation and flexibility. How can organizations manage this catch 22 situation, in which change is both necessary and potentially harmful? In accordance with strategic learning and organizational learning literature, one avenue out of the catch 22 is to make sure that change is preceded by open, transparent and broad dialogue with internal and external stakeholders, and carefully monitored throughout its implementation.

Jan Boon
Postdoctoral researcher

My research focuses on strategic management and reputation; organizational change, learning and innovation; and machine learning and artificial intelligence.