Organization Studies International Award for Excellence

The Organization Studies Journal Collection offers an annual award for newly published research or thinking that has been recognized to be outstanding by members of the Organization Studies Research Network.

Award Winner for Volume 18

The Need for Competing Commitments Research: Coping with Change in Knowledge Management

Experiencing regular change for organizations is the new status quo. For every leader who finds themselves in this situation, there are many organizational members called upon to exercise leadership over a change project or a team in the change process. When employees find themselves in these roles, they are soon confronted with a set of daunting recognitions: Leadership involves trying to affect change; it is very difficult to bring about change in any human group without change to the individual; it is very hard to sustain significant change, and it is very difficult to lead on behalf of others. Organizational psychologists have termed some of the problems associated with this “competition commitments”—or, immunity to change. This research aims to discuss the need for competing commitment research and coping with change in knowledge management (KM) research, an area that has not been explored in the KM research. This article asks how academics and practitioners in change management and knowledge management can use competing commitments theory in the field.


In my time studying change in organizations, experiencing regular change for companies is the new status quo. For every leader who finds themselves in this situation, there are many organizational members called upon to exercise leadership over a change project or a team in the change process. When employees find themselves in these roles, they are soon confronted with a set of daunting recognitions: Leadership involves trying to affect change; it is very difficult to bring about change in any human group without change to the individual; it is very hard to sustain significant change, and it is very difficult to lead on behalf of others. I have found that the knowledge management literature has been ignoring what organizational psychologists have termed “competition commitments”—or, immunity to change. My research program aims aims to discuss the need for competing commitment research and coping with change in knowledge management research, an area that I have found not to be explored. This article and my body of work more generally asks how academics and practitioners in change management and knowledge management fields can use competing commitments theory to further organizational understanding.

—Jamie O'Brien

Past Award Winners

Volume 17

Institutional Guardianship: How Leaders in Nonprofit Academic Organizations Resolve Ethical Dilemmas in their Work

Barbara Hou, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management: Annual Review, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp.1–18


Volume 16

Towards Strategically Sustaining Business Students' Careers in a Globalized Workplace: The Importance of Being Responsible and Accountable

Susan Fox-Wolfgramm, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management: Annual Review, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp.1–14


Volume 13

Cultural Factors Affecting International Teamwork Dynamics and Effectiveness

Steven Levitt, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management: Annual Review, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp.9–23


Volume 12

Using Knowledge Processes to Improve Performance and Promote Change: The Continuous Loop Model and Cultural Enablers

Herbert Nold, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management: Annual Review, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp.53–70


Volume 11

Building Bridges: A Transdisciplinary Future for Knowledge Management

Rachel Jones and James Lee Corner, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp.19–30


Volume 10

Towards a Federated Architecture for Change Management: Lessons Learned from Quality Management and Other Management Areas

Frank Habermann, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management, Volume 10, Issue 11, pp.93–106


Volume 9

Transforming the Cynic: Recommendations for Leaders Implementing Organizational Change

Tracy Freeze, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp.141–154


Volume 8

Building the Capacity of Learning Professionals through an Infusion of Formal and Informal Learning

Susan Bolt, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.179–186