Three Perspectives On Change

Here I explore "change" in its narrow sense as a planned response to pressures and forces. Linda Ackerman provides a useful way of categorizing changes common in organizations, each of which varies in scope and depth (see Figure 55). The three perspectives on change are as follow:

Development Change
The improvement of a skill, method or condition that for some reason does not measure up to current expectation...[thus] to do better' or do more of' what already exists.
Transitional change
is introduced to have an organization evolve slowly. This kind of change involves many transition steps, during which the organization is neither what is once was nor what it aims to become. Current ways of doing things are replace by something new (for example, reorganizations; mergers; introducing new services, processes, systems, technologies and the like).
Transformational change
It is catalyzed by a change in belief and awareness about what is possible and necessary for the organization... It is something akin to letting go of one trapeze in mindair before a new swings into view...Unlike transitional change, the new state is usually unknown until it begins to take shape... Most of the variables are not be controlled, rushed, or short circuited. Transformational change is typified by a radical reconceptualization of the organization's mission, culture, critical success factors, form, leadership, and the like.

Determining what kind of change an organization requires is clearly vital, for the depth and complexity of implementation grow significantly from development (much skillbuilding training) to transitional (setting up temporary positions, structures) to transformational (developing new beliefs, systems, gaining organizationwide commitment).

A way of assessing the kind of changes an organization needs is to ponder the following questions:

  1. How far do we want to go? Is that too far not far enough?
  2. Are we contemplating the "path of least resistance" or a direction that is truly need?
  3. What kind of results do we want short term, longer term?
  4. Do we want permanent change or will that risk inflexibility, making future change more difficult?
  5. How much change can the organization absorb? At once? Cumulatively?
  6. Can the changes contemplated be presented positively? If not, why not?
  7. What happens if we don't change at all?

After a business grows to maturity, it will repeatedly experience periods of what can be called delayed change.

Delayed change reflects stasis for the business, as it is poised to resume it growth and development or to struggle with varying degrees of change that require change and turnaround.

There are four stages of change: operational change, directional change, fundamental change and total change (see Figure 56).

Operational change
This change reflects conditions on two levels: the need to improve or alter operations within the company, and dissent within the business' culture. Operational change conditions usually indicate that there's a need to improve production or servicedelivery capabilities. These center around issues of cost, timeliness, quantity, or quality. Despite the dissent, the culture of the organization remains committed to the business and its overall goals.
Directional change
This change indicates that the organization's business strategy is beginning to fail in the marketplace. It usually happens because of major competitive or regulatory shifts. Directional change conditions can also be created by major failings within the business itself. The issue of directional change is critical to the organization because it serves as the axis on which the business successfully or unsuccessfully performs. The directional change requires the planning for change and reorganizing the corporate structure to support the strategies. In addition, companies should promote research and development, enrich the work climate, encourage feedback, redirect human resource support, and appraise management control systems.
Fundamental change
This change occurs when the mission or leadership of the organization begins to fail the business. Changing the culture and getting the corporation to commit to the new culture and the redeveloped mission it reflects is critical. Mission development should be part of a process that includes everyone in the organization.
Total change
Total change can reflect extreme stages of alienation and business failure within the culture of it can reflect a planned and total turnaround or the businesses. Leadership is isolated from the culture, employees and management can no longer identifies with the values of the business. The original vision and assumptions for the business have been tossed aside. Moreover, customers nol longer identify with the business, and they abandon it. If the business is to be to saved, whole new visioning process is required. In this stage, investors or leaders often consciously decide to move the company from one industry to a wholly different business sector.


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Managing Strategic Change
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