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The Macropolitics of Organizational Change: A Comparative Analysis of the Spread of Small-Group Activities

Robert E. Cole
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 30, No. 4 (Dec., 1985), pp. 560-585
DOI: 10.2307/2392697
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2392697
Page Count: 26
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The Macropolitics of Organizational Change: A Comparative Analysis of the Spread of Small-Group Activities
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Abstract

This is a comparative analysis of the institutionalization of small-group activities over the past two decades in three national settings: Japan, Sweden, and the United States. The analysis takes entire industries within national political communities as the units of analysis and highlights the macropolitical processes that have led to different outcomes. The spread of small-group activities in these three countries has depended on three factors: the incentives embedded in national labor markets for management to innovate; the establishment of well-funded industry- or national-level organizations supported by management to communicate methods and support change; and the disposition of organized labor toward these changes and its ability to enforce its preferences. The paper demonstrates the advantages of using macropolitical processes to explain microprocesses in organizations. Such an approach to organizational change helps us see the forest for the trees in a way that traditional research approaches have often failed to do.

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