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Cascading organizational change

Hannan, M.T.; Pólos, L.; Carroll, G.R.

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M.T. Hannan

G.R. Carroll


This article develops a formal theory of the structural aspects of organizational change. It concentrates on changes in an organization's architecture, depicted as a code system. It models the common process whereby an initial architectural change prompts other changes in the organization, generating a cascade of changes that represents the full reorganization. The main argument ties centrality of the organizational unit initiating a change to the total time that the organization spends reorganizing and to the associated opportunity costs. The central theorem holds that the expected deleterious effect of a change in architecture on the mortality hazard increases with viscosity and the intricacy of the organizational design.


Hannan, M., Pólos, L., & Carroll, G. (2003). Cascading organizational change. Organization Science, 14(5), 463-482.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2003
Deposit Date Mar 22, 2007
Publicly Available Date Sep 22, 2014
Journal Organization Science
Print ISSN 1047-7039
Electronic ISSN 1526-5455
Publisher Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 5
Pages 463-482
Keywords Organizational change, Cascades, Organizational mortality.
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