Nils Brunsson focused his research particularly on that which N. Luhmann once called ‘The poetry of reform’. He examined the dramaturgy of change projects in organisations. Why is after the reform always before the reform? Why do reform projects (nowadays called ‘change projects’) so rarely reach their goal, or are replaced by activities, which then address the exact opposite direction? (centralisation/decentralisation, diversification/core competences, functional structure/project structure etc.).
The fact that organisations must stabilise themselves by means of bipolarities and, therefore, must oscillate between these poles, brought the focus. For this to be possible, organisations must forget that they have already been there, where they are now wanting to go. Amongst other things, this can succeed by means of promises, with which the (old) new is charged and through knowing that things will not arise as has been promised. The paradoxes of change can be very descriptively studied in his writing.