Sample Term Paper

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Extant theory yields competing for hypotheses regarding the impact of initiatives such as re-engineering. Rational choice theories suggest that performance improvements follow appropriate strategic change as organizations benefit from sequential, planned searches for optimal solutions (Mintzberg 1990). Structural contingency theory argues that individual organizations rationally adapt to their environment by adjusting their structures and strategies over time to fit with environmental contingencies (Chandler 1962; Donaldson 1995,1987) and allocate resources to gain a comparative advantage (Christensen, Andrews, and Bower 1978). Thus, management theories vary diametrically in their predictions of the competitive outcomes of core organizational changes.

On the other hand, population ecologists have long maintained that organizational efforts to adapt to new environmental demands will be ineffective (Hannan and Freeman 1989). This perspective predicts that organizations are unable to adapt quickly enough to improve their survivability. Ultimately, an organization is likely to fail as it competes with newly founded, more competitive firms. This paradigm suggests that management change efforts may have only random effects on the viability of an organization and may even exert negative effects due to the liability of newness associated with core change (Singh, Tucker, and House 1986).

Reengineering involves the reordering and altering of core organizational practices and has been predicted to drastically improve the competitive position of an organization (Hammer and Champy 1993). Evidence on reengineering outcomes, however, is decidedly equivocal (Sincoe 1998; Nwabueze and Kanji 1997; Recardo and Jones 1997).

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