Organizational improvisation: change or stability?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - Some studies show that improvisation is a source of change, whereas others show that it is a source of stability. The purpose of this paper is to specify the factors which set the boundary between improvised change and improvised stability. Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws on two published studies and contrasts their findings to analyze the extent to which improvisation leads to organizational change or organizational stability. Findings - The paper suggests that the most innovative instances of improvisation reproduce some features of everyday experience. The extent to which an improvisation is a source of stability or a source of change depends on the dynamics of variation, selection and retention therein. Research limitations/implications - Future research needs to add empirical flesh to this theoretical skeleton to push research on organizational improvisation beyond the study of its causes and into further research on its consequences. Originality/value - The paper deals with the paradox of making sense about two apparently opposing streams of research on improvisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-100
Number of pages20
JournalManagement Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Change management
  • Organizational change
  • Uncertainty management


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