Date of Award

Winter 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Charles B. Keating

Committee Member

Adrian Gheorghe

Committee Member

Andres Sousa-Poza

Committee Member

Regina Karp


The purpose of this research is to develop a theoretical framework for the analysis of politics in enterprise transformations using a dialectical analysis approach (Hegel, 1989; Heraclitus, 1979; Pinkard, 1988; Skinner, 1978a, 1978b) and conduct an evaluation of the framework validity. The framework is constructed using a dialectical analysis of concepts stemming from the work of Alford and Friedland (1992) and considers four theoretical perspectives: autocratic, bureaucratic, pluralistic, and cognitive. The framework is then validated by means of qualitative metrics and adherence to critical ideology.

This research addresses the problem that there is no holistic theoretical framework for the analysis of politics across the systemic, situational, and structural contexts found in enterprise transformations. Politics occurs at multiple levels in the enterprise making it difficult to identify the salient issues that need to be addressed in support of transformation. Transformations can be paradoxical as enterprises revert to the dominant paradigm that affirms present realities rather than developing a critical posture to break the constraining paradigm. The dialectical approach used embraces the power of multiple theoretical perspectives in the transformation process, asserting that theories have power over actions, behaviors, and language.

The theoretical framework allows for the simultaneous existence of shifting states of cooperation, frustration, and paradigmatic hegemony over systemic, situational, and structural contexts that embody politics in enterprise transformations. Rough set theory is used to demonstrate the ability of the framework to be adaptive and to evolve based on the inclusion of new data. I conclude that the deployment of an evolving framework of this magnitude may have a significant impact on the management of transformation efforts and suggest new areas of research to further the work.