|Case Western Reserve University
|Management; Business Administration; Organizational Change; Attentional Change; Decision Making; Business Schools; Curriculum Development
|Full text PDF:
Organizational change efforts typically fail (Beer & Nohria, 2000). While there is extensive literature around organizational change, missing from that literature is empirical research regarding how the choice sets identified prior to making the final decision regarding a change are developed and how perceptions of that process might influence the willingness of individuals within the organization to support the change. This research seeks to answer a four-fold question: 1) what inputs do organizations take into account when considering an organizational change; 2) how are those inputs incorporated into the choice sets from which a final decision is made about what change, if any, will be attempted; 3) what role does attention play in the development of these choice sets; and, 4) how does attention affect the individual's satisfaction with choice sets, perceived quality of organizational decision, and affective commitment to change?We chose an exploratory sequential mixed methods approach comprised of both qualitative and quantitative strands. Our research context is curriculum change decision-making. We interviewed U.S. Business School faculty and administrators as well as an industry expert and we surveyed faculty and administrators in business schools and in higher education in general.Our results suggest that there are twelve main categories of inputs that business schools consider in their curricular deliberations and that the amount of attention paid to each input varies across schools. Our study reveals that attention plays a significant role in explaining not only satisfaction with the choice sets, but also perceived quality of the decision and affective commitment to the change decided upon. Our research is important because it uncovers a new concept of change management - which we call Attentional Change - that captures the notion that an individual's commitment to organizational change is a function of what the organization pays attention to in terms of focus and capacity. This is the first study we are aware of that empirically tests the impact of these two dimensions of attention on the individual's affective commitment to the change decision.