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Towards an integrated theory of organizational translation
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics & Quality Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9155-189X
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Translation is a word with several different meanings, and the large diversity among theories of translation can make them difficult to put to use. Furthermore, translation theories tend to have a rather philosophical character, which can make it especially difficult to find practical applications or implications for development of managerial knowledge.

In this paper, translation is used as a theoretical lens for understanding organizational change. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First and foremost, the paper aims to bring together some of the main streams of theory within the translation field. These are summarized under the umbrella construct I have chosen to call organizational translation. The second aim of the paper is to demonstrate how organizational translation may be used to increase our knowledge of organizational change processes and contribute to development of theory as well as practical work in terms of managing organizational change.

Three different modes of organizational translation are proposed in this paper. First, the idea-oriented mode of translation addresses the issue of how ideas are translated and communicated to influence people’s understanding. Secondly, object-oriented translation aims at how ideas are materialized and represented in various artifacts. Finally, practice-oriented translation points to how everything (ideas and artifacts) comes together and is converted to practical action. It is further proposed that these three modes of organizational translation interact and may have a mutually reinforcing effect if they are used actively to support the strategic direction of the proposed change. Conversely, insufficient attention to any of the three modes of translation may cause problems in the change process. Thereby, poor translation may contribute to explaining organizational change failure.

This paper contributes to development of both theory and practice related to translation and organizational change. From a theoretical perspective, the paper contributes to bringing together diverse theories of translation under the umbrella of organizational translation. By doing this, new avenues for analysis of organizational change processes are suggested, which may inspire further theory development and also suggestions for better management of organizational change. 

Keyword [en]
Lean, translation, change, leadership, organisation
Keyword [sv]
Lean, översätttning, förändring, ledarskap, organisation
National Category
Work Sciences Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Reliability and Maintenance
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-134051OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-134051DiVA: diva2:1067137
Available from: 2017-01-20 Created: 2017-01-20 Last updated: 2017-01-20

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf