Topics: Management, Change management, Organizational studies and human resource management Pages: 15 (3786 words) Published: April 5, 2014


Organizational change is an ongoing process with important implications for organizational effectiveness. An organization and its members must be constantly on the alert for changes from within the organization and from the outside environment, and they must learn how to adjust to change quickly and effectively. Organizational change is the movement of an organization away from its present state and toward some future state to increase its effectiveness. Forces for organizational change include competitive forces; economic, political, and global forces; demographic and social forces; and ethical forces. Organizations are often reluctant to change because resistance to change at the organization, group, and individual levels has given rise to organizational inertia.

Sources of organization-level resistance to change include power and conflict, differences in functional orientation, mechanistic structure, and organizational culture. Sources of group-level resistance to change include group norms, group cohesiveness, and groupthink and escalation of commitment. Sources of individual-level resistance to change include uncertainty and insecurity, selective perception and retention, and habit. According to Lewin’s force-field theory of change, organizations are balanced between forces pushing for change and forces resistant to change. To get an organization to change, managers must find a way to increase the forces for change, reduce resistance to change, or do both simultaneously.

Types of change fall into two broad categories: evolutionary and revolutionary. The main instruments of evolutionary change are sociotechnical systems theory, total quality management, and the development of flexible workers and work teams. The main instruments of revolutionary change are reengineering, restructuring, and innovation. Often, the revolutionary types of change that result from restructuring and reengineering are necessary only because an organization and its managers ignored or were unaware of changes in the environment and did not make incremental changes as needed.

Action research is a strategy that managers can use to plan the change process. The main steps in action research are (a) diagnosis and analysis of the organization, (b) determining the desired future state, (c) implementing action, (d) evaluating the action, and (e) institutionalizing action research.

Organizational development (OD) is a series of techniques and methods to increase the adaptability of organizations. OD techniques can be used to overcome resistance to change and to help the organization to change itself. OD techniques for dealing with resistance to change include education and communication, participation and empowerment, facilitation, bargaining and negotiation, manipulation, and coercion. OD techniques for promoting change include, at the individual level, counseling, sensitivity training, and process consultation; at the group level, team building and intergroup training; and at the organizational level, organizational confrontation meetings.


10.1 What Is Organizational Change?

Organizational change is the process by which organizations move from their current or present state to some desired future state to increase their effectiveness. An organization in decline may need to restructure its competences and resources to improve its fit with a changing environment. Even thriving, high-performing organizations such as Google, Apple, and Facebook need to continuously change the way they operate over time to meet ongoing challenges.

Targets of Change

Organizational change includes changes in four areas:

1. Human resources are an organization’s most important asset. Because these skills and abilities give an organization a competitive advantage, organizations must continually monitor their structures to find the most effective way of...
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