Duality Theory and Organizing Forms in Change Management

Fiona Graetz, Aaron C.T. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This paper employs the results from a survey of organizing forms in Australia's largest public companies between 2000–2004 to demonstrate the salience of duality theory in change management. The survey sought to identify trends in forms of organizing and the extent to which the uptake of new forms led to a decrease in traditional forms of organizing as measured across the organizational dimensions of structures, processes and boundaries. The results indicate that the key coordinating and control features of traditional bureaucracy continue to play an essential role, providing stability and ensuring accountability, uniformity and quality. However, managing the ambiguities of a rapidly changing and volatile environment is beyond bureaucracy's traditional repertoire of routines. More flexible, responsive forms of organizing, able to cope with change and uncertainty, are required. That these new, more flexible forms can operate successfully within larger, bureaucratic structures testifies that bureaucracies are dynamic entities, able to adapt and accommodate new forms of organizing. Duality theory is operationalized in terms of five duality characteristics, employed as principles to explain the composition and balance of traditional and new forms of organizing that was observed empirically. The paper culminates with the proposition that a dualities aware perspective offers a potential way forward in managing the balance between what have traditionally been viewed as the contradictory forces of continuity and change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-25
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Change Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Duality Theory and Organizing Forms in Change Management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this