Title

Radical Change Accidentally: The Emergence and Amplification of Small Change

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2007

Publication Source

Academy of Management Journal

Volume

50

Issue

3

Inclusive pages

515-543

DOI

10.5465/AMJ.2007.25525647

ISBN/ISSN

00014273

Abstract

A decision to offer breakfast to homeless people led to radical change in a church and its environment. Existing theories of change do not fully explain observations from our qualitative study; however, complexity theory constructs suggest how and why such change emerged. We offer four key findings. First, the radical change was unintended, emergent, and slow. Second, destabilizing conditions helped small changes to emerge and become radical. Third, subsequent actions amplified an initial small change and, though not intended to do so, promoted radical change. Finally, the dynamic interaction of amplifying actions, contextual conditions, and small changes led to continuous radical change.

Disciplines

Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Organizational Behavior and Theory

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