Multi-Paradigmatic Perspectives on a Business Transformation Programme

Sergio Pellegrinelli / Ruth Murray-Webster

The study of projects and programmes, and their management, is becoming an increasingly vibrant and pluralistic academic field, having transcended its pragmatic and functionalist roots. Drawing upon Burrell and Morgan’s (1979) four paradigms of sociological research, we briefly review research set within each paradigm. This plurality of perspectives has informed and sensitised our analysis and sense-making of a major business transformation programme within a European retail bank. This paper presents key findings and insights from our inductive research. We argue that the research adds to our knowledge and understanding of programme-based transformational change and in particular the functioning, identity and symbolism, sources of power, and structural properties of programmes. The research brings to light facets often overlooked by the dominant functionalist paradigm, and adds depth, richness and perspectives useful to practitioners. Further work is required to understand programmes as they become more prominent features of our organisational landscapes.