Co-evolution between institutional environments and organizational change: The mediating effects of managers’ uncertainty

Xiaojun Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to interpret organizational change from a co-evolutionary perspective. It examines the co-evolution between institutional environments and organizational change with the mediating role of uncertainty as perceived by managers. Design/methodology/approach – The author employed an inductive case study to explore how institutional environments interact with organizational change in a novel context: a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Findings – The author developed a co-evolutionary model of organizational change that emphasizes the interaction between institutional-level factors and organizational-level change as bridged by top management perceptions of uncertainty. The model also illustrates the dynamics of organizational uncertainty and its effects on organizational change. Practical implications – The study implies that uncertainty may not be an inevitable negative influence on organizational development, and tell managers how to manages the dynamics of uncertainty through two principles. Originality/value – This study contributes to the organizational change literature by interpreting organizational change as the results of interaction between multi-level factors from institutional, organizational, and team levels. The author also expand the understanding of uncertainty from a dynamic perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-403
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2016


  • Case study
  • Co-evolutionary perspective
  • Managerial intentionality
  • Organizational change
  • Uncertainty dynamics


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