From Sequence to Simultaneity: Tonalities and Organizational Change in Digitalized Organizations

Lise Justesen*, Ursula Plesner

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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The purpose of this paper is to inspire a different way of thinking about digitalization and organizational change by theorizing simultaneity as an alternative to the otherwise dominant root metaphor of sequence in the literature on digitalization and organizational change.

The theoretical argument is based on a reading of central contributions to the literature on digital technology and organizational change, and particularly inspired by the work positing a constitutive entanglement of technology and organization. We argue for an extension of this line of thinking with a reading of Latour’s notion tonalities. The relevance of the theoretical argument is demonstrated through an illustrative empirical example of the phenomenon digital-ready legislation.

The paper identifies sequence as a root metaphor in the organization and digital change literature. It develops a simultaneity view and illustrates its relevance through the example of digital-ready legislation, pinpointing how technological, organizational and legal elements are attuned to one another at the same time rather than in sequence.

Practical implications
The sequentiality view has dominated the change management research, which has travelled from research into practice. The simultaneity view has the potential to offer a new approach to planning change, with a focus on the simultaneous alignment of, e.g. legal, organizational and technological elements.

The paper offers an alternative to dominant views on digitalization and organizational change, drawing on an overlooked notion in Latour’s scholarship, namely tonalities. This has potential to qualify the entanglement thesis and develop simultaneity as a new metaphor for understanding digital change.
TidsskriftJournal of Organizational Change Management
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)408-422
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2024

Bibliografisk note

Published online: 28 February 2024.


  • Digital technologies
  • Digitial-ready legislation
  • Digitalization and organizational change
  • Simultaneity
  • Tonalities