Coexistence of 'old' and 'new' organizational practices: Transitory phenomenon or enduring feature?

Sage Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 2007, 45 (1), pp. 24 - 43
Issue Date:
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The new organizational forms literature argues that in a dynamic business environment, new ways of organizing are required to ensure speed, flexibility and innovation. Originally it was asserted that the new organizational practices, after a period of transition, would replace the old practices, such as formalization and centralization. An alternative view has emerged recently which argues that old and new practices are compatible and can co-exist. The focus of this study was to test the emerging compatibility view by surveying Australian human resource managers. We found that organizations utilize new organizational practices but that traditional practices such as formalization and centralization remain important features of organizational design. Comparing our findings to an earlier study by Palmer and Dunford (2002) provides longitudinal support in favour of the compatibility argument. The key to understanding the use of new organizational forms may lie in the interaction between old and new practices: their co-existence appears to be an enduring rather than a transitory feature of Australian organizational design.
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