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

Lise Justesen*, Ursula Plesner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)408-422
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Published online: 28 February 2024.


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

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