Basic Concepts of Organizational Change

The change means the alteration of status quo or making things different.  It may refer to any alteration which occurs in the overall work environment of  an organization. When an organizational system is disturbed by some internal or  external force, the change may occur. The change is modification of the  structure or process of a system, that may be good or even bad. It disturbs the  existing equilibrium or status quo in an organization. The change in any part of  the organization may affect the whole of the organization, or various other parts  of organization in varying degrees of speed and significance. It may affect  people, structure, technology, and other elements of an organization. It may be  reactive or proactive in nature. When change takes place due to external forces,  it is called reactive change. However, proactive change is initiated by the  management on its own to enhance the organizational effectiveness. The change  is one of the most critical aspects of effective management. It is the coping  process of moving from the present state to a desired state that individuals,  groups and organizations undertake in response to various internal and external  factors that alter current realities.

Concepts of Organizational Change Management

Survival of even the most successful organizations cannot be taken for  granted. In some sectors of the economy, organizations must have the capability  to adapt quickly in order to survive. When organizations fail to change, the cost  of failure may be quite high. All organizations exist in a changing environment  and are themselves constantly changing. Increasingly, the organizations that  emphasize bureaucratic or mechanistic systems are ineffective. The  organizations with rigid hierarchies, high degree of functional specialization,  narrow and limited job descriptions, inflexible rules and procedures, and  impersonal management can’t respond adequately to the demands for change.

The organizations need designs that are flexible and adaptive. They also need  systems that require both, and allow greater commitment and use of talent on the  part of employees and managers. The organizations that do not bring about  timely change in appropriate ways are unlikely to survive. One reason that the  rate of change is accelerating is that knowledge and technology feed on  themselves, constantly making innovations at exponential rates.

Organizational change is the process by which organizations move from  their present state to some desired future state to increase their effectiveness. The goal of planned organizational change is to find new or improved ways of  using resources and capabilities in order to increase an organization’s ability to  create value and improve returns to its stakeholders. An organization in decline  may need to restructure its resources to improve its fit with the environment.  IBM and General Motors, for example, experienced falling demand for their  products in the 1990s and have been searching for new ways to use their  resources to improve their performance and attract customers back. On the other  hand, even a thriving organization may need to change the way it uses its  resources so that it can develop new products or find new markets for its  existing products. Wal-Mart, Target, Blockbuster Video, and Toys “R” Us, for  example, have been moving aggressively to expand their scale of operations and  open new stores to take advantage of the popularity of their products. In the last  decade, over half of all Fortune 500 companies have undergone major  organizational changes to allow them to increase their ability to create value.

Change may be regarded as one of the few constants of recorded history.  Often society’s “winners”, both historical and contemporary, can be  characterized by the common ability to effectively manager and exploit change  situations. Individuals, societies, nations and enterprises who have at some time  been at the forefront of commercial and/or technological expansion have  achieved domination, or at least competitive advantage, by being innovative in  thought and/or action. They have been both enterprising and entrepreneurial. It  is said that management and change are synonymous; it is impossible to  undertake a journey, for in many respects that is what change is, without first  addressing the purpose of the trip, the route you wish to travel and with whom.

Managing change is about handling the complexities of travel. It is about  evaluating, planning and implementing operational, tactical and strategic  ‘journeys’ — about always ensuring that the journey is worthwhile and the  destination is relevant. The Industrial Revolution, which developed in Europe  between 1750 and 1880, accelerated the rate of change to an extent never  previously thought possible. Other economies followed and the rate of change  has never declined; indeed, many would claim it has now accelerated out of  control. The spear and sword gave way to the gun; the scribe to the printing  press; manpower to the steam engine of James Watt; the horse and cart to the  combustion engine; the typewriter to the word processor; and so the list goes on.

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