Dewey’s broad account of habit and its relevance for change management: A conceptual clarification with pragmatic illustrations

Michael Pedersen, Stephen Brendan Dunne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The narrow view of habits predominant within behavioural approaches to change management conceptualizes them as passive transition points between stimuli and responses. John Dewey’s broad view of habit, by contrast, conceptualizes habits as the very basis for how individuals interact with their environments, one another, and themselves. We highlight the renewed relevance of Dewey’s conceptualization of habit by clarifying it as (1) a function between individuals and environments; (2) a custom produced within social settings; (3) a process intertwined with inquiries and impulses. We illustrate each of these characteristics through the example of a French factory, within which we claim that the narrow view prevails, and a Danish IT company, within which we claim the presence of a broader view. We proceed to discuss consequences of the broad view to change management research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Change Management
Early online date30 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • habit
  • change management
  • behaviourism
  • Pragmatism
  • John Dewey

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