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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/20142

Title: It is all in the relationship. Capacity building for organizing, change and learning from a relational perspective
Authors: Lambrechts, Frank
Advisors: Voordeckers, Wim
Koiranen, Matti
Corthouts, Felix
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: The common thread running within this article-based PhD thesis is the application and further development of a relational perspective on organizing, change and learning - a perspective which is grounded in social/relational constructionism. This perspective provides both insightful and actionable new knowledge to help understand and develop effective leadership, change and learning within organizational contexts. The main body of the PhD consists of six original articles published in international peer-reviewed journals. A concise introduction draws te readers' attention to the origin and main contributions of the articles. The concluding chapter adresses evolving thoughts, implications, contributions and challenges in an effort to build bridges towards the future. The first article focuses on how actors generate high-quality relating co-creating a generative learning process in a family-owned manufacturing firm. Based on a collaborative action research project, it offers actionable knowledge on the relational "how" of change or learning, taking into account the importance of contextual elements. The second article questions the taken for granted rhetoric on the virtual "boundaryless" organization as the most effective organizing form of the future. From a relational perspective, this form of organizing creates particular challenges and dilemmas for high-quality relationship building, careers and leadership, creating a new research agenda. The third article develops a relational practice perspective as a new way to help understand what really works in process consultation (Schein) and ongoing interactions for change. Two in-depth case studies of facilitating organizational change in a consulting firm and a health-care organization ground the perspective. The two case studies reported in the article are are the result of high-quality relating between researchers and organizational members as co-inquirers of the organizational change. A separate section ("Methodological underpinnings") details how to do research with a relational perspective. The fourth article focuses on how Volvo Cars Gent and its suppliers co-create joint learning and performance on important HRM issues through the effective functioning of a shared HRM collaborative. The article offers important lessons on the concrete activities members engage in and the quality of relational practices shaping trust, common ground, leadership, shared responsibility and representative-constituency dynamics. The fifth article is the result of a good conversation with Edgard Schein on his key formative learning experiences and book on helping which generalizes the process consultation approach. Schein centers humble inquiry, both an attitude and behavior of the helper, as the key process activity in building and maintaining the helping relationship in a diversity of interactive settings. Based on the concept of humble inquiry, the article offers provocative and concrete ideas on how to make management research and education more practice-close and thus relevant. By synthesizing a variety of literatures and disciplines, the sixth article offers a cyclical process framework aimed at understanding how multiple supply chain actors can succesfully develop in-depth supply chain learning in-between them. The model shows the interdependent working of leading facillitative actors establishing interaction boundary conditions, high-quality relating between the actors, and system-level generative outcomes. The final chapter contains ongoing thoughts on (a) building a relational theory of organizing, change and learning, (b) implications for theory building efforts on system-level learning in family-business research, (c) the distinctive nature of a relational theory as compared to agency theory and stewardship theory, (d) conditions for a scholar-practitioner to thrive, and (e) particular challenge/opportunity when writing future articles.
Notes: This PhD is a joint PhD made in the Joint PhD Program of the Faculty of Business Economics (Hasselt University, Belgium) and The Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics (Jyväskylä University, Finland). For more information about this joint PhD program: please contact the author of the PhD thesis
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/20142
Category: T1
Type: Theses and Dissertations
Appears in Collections: PhD theses
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