This paper discusses change management in networks. The literature on business networks tends to downplay the role of managerial initiative in network change. The change management literature addresses such initiative, but with its single-firm perspective it overlooks the interdependence of network actors. In exploring the void between these two streams of literature, we deploy the concept of network pictures to discuss managed change in network settings. We analyze a change project from the furniture industry and address the consequences of attempting to manage change activities in a network context characterized by limited managerial authority over these activities. Our analysis suggests that change efforts unfold as a negotiated process during which the change project is re-negotiated to fit the multiple actor constituencies. The degree of overlap in the co-existing network pictures of the involved actors is found to be decisive for the possibility of successfully implementing network change.
Industrial Marketing Management, 2009, Vol 38, Issue 6, p. 641-653