Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Work Process Development: Are Harmonisation and Innovation conflicting aims?

Dr Dag Runar Elvekrok, Siri Moe Jensen, Heidi Brovold.

The last decades has brought a growing focus on innovation, individual and organisational knowledge and learning, the motivation and empowerment of employees, local adaptations to market, customer relationship management and other issues that can be said to emphasize individuality and flexibility. On the other hand, globalisation means increasingly large companies striving to capitalise on their size by rationalising operations - reusing resources, procedures and knowledge across units and regions.

Both these trends, in different ways, may lead to efforts in which organisational learning is seen as an important element – in the sense that a group of people collectively enhance their capacities to produce the wanted outcome. Still, there are obvious inherent conflicts in these trends. Based on a case project of work process improvement and harmonisation, this paper investigates the relationship between the two worthy causes of harmonisation and innovation.

The objective of the case project is to streamline and harmonise work processes across local offices of a global organisation. The offices in our case project differ in size, origin, service profile, market and customers – and are spread all over the world. The paper uses organisational and management theory to identify requirements and conditions considered important for innovation, comparing this with the objectives, priorities and means of the case project to analyse conflicts of interest. Based on this analysis, we address the issue of how to best cater for innovation when harmonising across diverse organisational units or networks of organisations.


Dr Dag Runar Elvekrok  (Norway)
Senior Research Engineer

Det Norske Veritas

Siri Moe Jensen  (Norway)
Senior Research Scientist
Research Department
Det Norske Veritas

Heidi Brovold  (Norway)

Det Norske Veritas

  • Organisational Learning
  • Global Harmonisation
  • Innovation
  • Business Networks

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)