Organizational change – Change management – Types, Process

Organizational change may be defined as “the adoption of a new idea or behaviour by an organization”

Organizational Change refers to any modification or alternation in people, structure, job design or technology of an existing organization. An organization must make changes continuously in order to cope up with changes in —

  1. Customer needs

  2. Technological breakthrough

  3. Economic shocks

  4. Government regulations etc.

Organizational Change is required to maintain equilibrium between various external and internal forces, to achieve organization objectives. It helps an organization to be more effective and efficient for the purpose of achieving its objectives.

Types of Organizational Change

Anticipatory change – These are systematically planned changes intended to take advantage of expected future events or situations.

Relative change – Changes that become imperative due to changes in environment and unexpected events.

Incremental Change – It involves changes in the subsystem of an organization in order to keep it on the correct path / direction.

Strategic Change – These changes affect the overall working and direction of an organization.

Planned Change – It helps an organization to prepare and adapt to changes in organization goals and objectives. It seeks to –

  1. Improve the ability of an organization to adapt to changes in its environment

  2. Change employee behaviour

  3. Survive the competition

Proactive change – It takes place when forces for change lead an organization to make changes in its structure, technology or people as it is desirable.

Reactive Change – When forces for change make it necessary for a change to be implemented.

Process of Organizational Change

Process of Planned Change

Planned change is a deliberate and intentional change by the organization involving –

  1. structural innovation

  2. new philosophy, policy, goal

  3. change in operating philosophy

  4. change in climate and style

Kunt Lewin’s Force Field Analysis Model

According to Kurt Lewin, individual behaviour is the result of equilibrium between driving forces and restraining forces.

Driving forces – Tend to initiate change – Forces which affect a situation by pushing it in a particular direction.

Restraining forces – Forces acting to restrain or decrease driving forces.

An increase in the driving forces might improve productivity but it also might increase restraining forces. E.g. – Manager eliminating breaks for employees (Driving forces) Employees offering resistance (Restraining Forces)

Driving forces may also activate restraining forces therefore it is more effective to decrease the restraining forces to encourage change. To initiate planned changes managers have to remove restraining forces or make them weak and strengthen the driving forces.

Individuals experience two obstacles to change:

  1. They are unwilling to alter long established attitudes and behaviours

  2. They may try to do things differently but return to traditional ways in a short time.

Kurt Lewin introduced a three step sequential model of change process:

(1) Unfreezing – It is a process in which a person casts away his old behaviour which might be inappropriate or irrelevant to the changing demands of the situation.

Schien Hur suggested some measures for undertaking the unfreezing process –

  1. Physical removal of individuals from their accustomed routines, sources of information and social relationships.

  2. Undermining and destruction of social support

  3. Demeaning and humiliating experiences to help individuals see their old habits as unworthy and be motivated for change

  4. Linking reward with willingness to change and punishment with resistance to change

It involves discarding the orthodox and conventional ways of doing things and introducing new behaviour and accepting new alternatives.

(2) Changing – In this phase individuals learn new behaviour and learning process begins. Individuals start accepting change and learn to behave in a new way. The changing phase can be explained in terms of –

  1. Compliance or force – It occurs when individuals are forced to change either by rewards or punishment

  2. Internalization – It occurs when individuals are forced to encounter a situation that calls for a new behaviour.

  3. Identification – It occurs when individuals choose a particular behaviour model that suits his/her personality in the changed environment.

Guidelines for effective change

  1. Realize that the purpose of change is to improve performance results.

  2. Make individuals responsible for their own change

  3. Encourage improvisation, team performance, and coordinated activities.

  4. Encourage learning by doing, provide Just in Time (JIT) training

  5. Use positive energy, meaningful language, effective leadership

(3) Refreezing – It means what has been learned is integrated into actual practice. The individuals internalize the new beliefs, feelings and behaviour learned during changing phase. They accept and adopt these changes as a permanent part of their behaviour repertoire. There is a tendency that an individual might revert back to their old behaviour therefore reinforcement is necessary for the internalization of new behaviour.

Forces of Organizational Change

Internal forces

  1. Increased size

  2. Performance gap

  3. Employee needs & values

  4. Change in top management

External forces

  1. Technological changes

  2. Changing marketing conditions

  3. Social changes

  4. Political & legal changes

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