The Emergence of Homogeneity and Heterogeneity in Knowledge Structures During a Planned Organizational Change

Timothy Kuhn, Steven Corman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


Scholars and practitioners increasingly strive to understand the complexities marking implementations of organizational change programs. Studies on this topic often concentrate on members' cognition about a planned change, regularly finding that members' knowledge structures and interpretations either converge or diverge over time. Using interviews, observations, and a unique discourse processing technique, a nine-month case study of one division of a municipal government organization shows that members' knowledge structures simultaneously converged and diverged as a consequence of both the change initiative and several unanticipated organizational events, including a clash between workgroups. The study's findings and theoretical perspective suggest a challenge to cognitive perspectives on knowledge and traditional research on organizational change; they also provide lessons for practitioners on how organizations may learn from complex change dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-229
Number of pages32
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

Cite this