Change Management

Definition of Change Management

Change simply refers to alteration in the existing conditions of an organization.One meaning of managing change refers to the making of changes in a planned and managed or systematic fashion. The aim is to more effectively implement new methods and systems in an ongoing organization. The changes to be managed lie within and are controlled by the organization.


Types of Change

There are seven types of change: incremental, transformational, strategic, organizational, systems and processes, cultural, and behavioural.

1. Incremental Change

Incremental change is gradual change. It takes place in small steps. At the strategic level James Quinn (1980) coined the phrase ‘logical incrementalism’ to describe how organizations develop their change strategies. He suggested that organizations go through an iterative process that leads to incremental commitments that enable the enterprise to experiment with, and learn about, an otherwise unknowable future.

2. Transformational Change

Transformation, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is: ‘A change in the shape, structure, nature of something’. Transformational change is the process of ensuring that an organization can develop and implement major change programmes so that it responds strategically to new demands and continues to function effectively in the dynamic environment in which it operates. Organizational transformation may involve radical changes to the structure, culture and processes of the organization. This may be in response to competitive pressures, mergers, acquisitions, investments, disinvestments, changes in technology, product lines, markets, cost reduction exercises and decisions to downsize or outsource work. Transformational change may be forced on an organization by investors or government decisions. It may be initiated by a new chief executive and top management team with a remit to ‘turn round’ the business.

3. Strategic change

Strategic change is concerned with broad, long-term and organization-wide issues. It is about moving to a future state that has been defined generally in terms of strategic vision and scope. It will cover the purpose and mission of the organization, its corporate philosophy on such matters as growth, quality, innovation and values concerning people (employees and customers), and the technologies employed. This overall definition leads to specifications of competitive positioning and strategic goals for achieving competitive advantage and for product-market development. These goals are supported by policies concerning marketing, sales, customer service, product and process development, and human resource management.

4. Organizational change

Organizational change deals with how organizations are structured and, in broad terms, how they function. It involves identifying the need to reconsider the formal structure of organizations, which Child (1977) has defined as comprising ‘all the tangible and regularly occurring features which help to shape their members’ behaviour’. Organizational change programmes address issues of centralization and decentralization, how the overall management task should be divided into separate activities, how these activities should be allocated to different parts of the organization, and how they should be directed, controlled, coordinated and integrated.

5. Systems and Processes

Changes to systems and processes affect operations and impact on working arrangements and practices in the whole or part of an organization. They take place when operating methods are revised, new technology is introduced or existing technology is modified.

6. Cultural Change

Cultural change aims to change the existing culture of an organization. Organizational or corporate culture is the system of values (what is regarded as important in organizational and individual behavior) and accepted ways of behavior (norms) that strongly influence ‘the way things are done around here’. It is founded on well-established beliefs and assumptions.

7. Behavioral Change

Behavioral change involves taking steps to encourage people to be more effective by shaping or modifying the ways in which they carry out their work. Organizations depend on people behaving in ways that will contribute to high performance and support core values. They must recognize that people at work often have discretion on the way they do their work and the amount of effort, care, innovation and productive behavior they display.

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