This conceptual paper draws upon Victor Turner’s understanding of social change as social drama. It develops an interpretive framework for episodic organizational change as a period of liminal transition that is triggered and driven by conflict. Emphasizing the liminal quality inherent in change processes, the social drama is used to generate a conceptual frame to investigate the opportunities and threats in liminal transitions, the various ways to re-establish social order in organizations and the associated role of leaders in liminal times. Promoting conflict’s productive nature for organizational change, the social drama is further used to provide a frame to investigate how social reality in organizations is challenged, developed, crafted, transformed and finally re-constituted through conflict. The article argues that the social drama perspective has the capacity to further reflexive thinking about change processes in organizations.
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