Limitations and Prospects of Planned Change in Multinational Corporations

Ehud Harari, Yoram Zeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Planned organizational change efforts have rarely been initiated in multi-national corporations (MNCs). A survey we conducted among top man-agers of MNCs in various countries revealed why: managers are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the process, skeptical of the prospects for its success, and apprehensive of possible damaging effects. A major factor considered problematical is that the cultural heterogeneity of MNCs' work force is bound to lead to different perceptions of existing policies and patterns of organizational behavior and incongruent perceptions of the desired ones. We hypothesize four types of relationships between the existence of such differences or similarities and the prospects for successful planned change in MNCs. Subsequently, the analysis of three stages of a planned change effort in one MNC-diagnosis, analysis, and introduction of changes-sug-gests that differences in the perceptions of the existing situation may not preclude successful planned change under the following conditions: there are no significant differences in the perceptions of the desired situation; the change agent is familiar with both learning theories and the problems of the specific organization; the loyalty of employees of the various nationalities is assured; and supervisors, especially parent country nationals in key man-agerial positions, are induced to bridge the gap between their perception of the desired situation and their actual behavior. The reasons for this gap and suggestions for minimizing their effect are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-676
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1976


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