Organizational change management theories and safety - A critical review
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSafety Science Monitor. 2017, 20 (1), .
In many change management theories, the change recipient’s trust and willingness to change on one hand, are viewed as key factors for a successful change process. Resistance to change, on the other hand, is viewed as something the management must conquer to be able to complete the change process. In order to make the change recipients trusting and willing to change, change theories provide useful tools such as making discrepancy in the work situation of those who are to face changes, and using persuasive communication. However, from a safety perspective the importance of trained scepticism, and having the end users questioning the change process, rather than convincing them, seem to be more important. To view the end users as experts, and to bring them in the process from an early stage, with their opinions on how to make changes as safe as possible, seems more important than overcoming their resistance to change. This paper bridges theories of organizational change and the theory of high reliability organizations (HRO) as a safety theory and discusses how a change process can be feasible with safety as a main priority. Finally, a new model of organizational change which includes processes that ensure safety is presented.