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Title:Constitutive Relations Among Conflict, Power, and Change in Complex Organizations: An Ethnographic Study of a Government Research and Development Laboratory
Author(s):Warren, Daniel Craig
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Kamberelis, George
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Abstract:This dissertation was a contextualized investigation of conflict and its interconnectedness with power and change in a complex hierarchical organization. Three kinds of data were collected: observation of groups involved with implementing a planned change effort, interviews with members of the organization, and archival documents such as memoranda and electronic mail. Analysis of the data involved looking for relationships between and among conflict, power, and change. Three key aspects of conflict emerged from the analysis of these relationships. First, conflict and power were found to be mutually constitutive. Conflict was an occasion for members to define their interests and use influence. At the same time, conflict was shaped by where members were situated in the field of power or distribution of interests and influence. Second, conflict was usually centered around organizational exigencies. Comparison of several conflict incidents revealed that conflict was often constructed by members as they dealt with matters of organizational urgency, developed strategies to respond to exigencies, and determined possible constraints on their actions. Third, conflict was found to have a trajectory or temporal unfolding. This dynamic involved both the reproduction of organizational practices and the entry of random events that changed the course of the conflict. These findings suggest that most received views of conflict--as an outcome of organizational processes--are far too limited. Rather, conflict is an essential dimension of the on-going process of organizing.
Issue Date:1997
Description:301 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9737284
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:1997

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