Staff and Line Revisited: How Management Specialists Promote Change in Technical Work Settings

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingsForskningpeer review


This paper explores the work of peripheral experts who lack formal authority to produce change operations in a bureaucratic organization. I theorize these dynamics in terms of staff-line relations and draw on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork to map the struggle of a team of process improvement, knowledge management, and project management specialists to influence the aircraft development work in an aeronautical company. While previous literature documents that close ties and awareness about the work context enables experts to influence operations, I find that these conditions may be necessary but not sufficient. Specifically, I find that experts drew on their ties and awareness to translate tools and services according to the work context and paced their offer in a stepwise manner. Yet, as line employees rejected or ignored their tools and services, they deployed stealthy ways to infiltrate operations, piggybacking opportunities to implement their ideas and trying to bait interest among technical workers and managers. I build on my findings to theorize the organizational challenges faced by experts to accomplish their professional mandate in complex organizations and translate ideas into practice, thus refining our understanding of expert work in organizations.

TitelProceedings of the Eighty-second Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
RedaktørerSonja Taneja
Antal sider1
UdgivelsesstedBriarcliff Manor, NY
ForlagAcademy of Management
StatusUdgivet - 2022
BegivenhedThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2022: Creating a Better World Together - Seattle, USA
Varighed: 5 aug. 20229 aug. 2022
Konferencens nummer: 82


KonferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2022
NavnAcademy of Management Proceedings