Public defence in Industrial Engineering and Management, M.Sc. (Tech) Riku Österman

Title of the doctoral thesis is: "Resource mobilization in capabilities for strategic change"
A highly motivated team engaged in collaboration.

Opponent: Professor Julia Balogun, University of Liverpool, England
Custos: Professor Markku Maula, Aalto University School of Science, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management

The public defence will be organised on campus (Maarintie 8, lecture hall AS1).

The thesis is publicly displayed 10 days before the defence in the publication archive Aaltodoc of Aalto University.
Electronic thesis can be found here:

Public defence announcement

Earlier studies have repeatedly shown that strategic change initiatives succeed only rarely to their full intention. Often the change creates turmoil and confusion, and many organizational members are dissatisfied with the situation. The current research studied the organizing of strategic change via six case companies. Large European companies were approached with experiences of recent large strategic changes. Interviews where focused on the practical activities of change execution, and how the multitude of change participants adopted their respective roles in the change. Two distinct approaches to organizing the change were uncovered: architectural and modular. While architectural change initiatives are characterized by the seeking of approval to the change vision and resolving ambiguities, modular change initiatives are typically numeric goal driven programs, decomposed into smaller fairly independent sub-initiatives. The research showed that approaches to organizing the change need to be chosen so that they support the objectives of the change. The requirements of architectural change are clearly different from the requirements of modular change. The present research thereby opens a new important theme to the change management research, as the variance in organizing architectural change vis-à-vis modular change has not been previously discussed.

It was found that the performance of organizing practices is greatly influenced by the practices’ ability to mobilize i.e. energize and engage the participants and stakeholders needed in the change. This interesting trait became a focal point in the study of how the teams were organized. Any project organization is challenged by its temporary nature. It is challenging to assemble a high-performance working group that understands well the requirements of the initiative and can perform quickly with results. The case companies were found to be very different in respect to how they acquired and improved their capabilities for mobilization and change execution. Some companies, despite their earlier initiatives, started new initiative organizations from a clean slate, often aided by consultants. Others maintained their change capabilities with multi-skilled teams and readiness for quick capability reassembly.

Contact details of the doctoral candidate: [email protected], +358405578045

  • Published:
  • Updated: