Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Nature Of Organizational Change

In considering the concept of change, it is useful to distinguish between "change" and "innovation". Changes refers to any alteration of the status quo, whereas innovation is more specialized kind of change. Innovation is a new idea applied to initiating or improving a process, product, or service.

Organizational change is defined as "the adoption of a new idea or behaviour by an organization". Although some authors use the word adaption rather that change, the two terms are essentially synonymous.

Organizations are always in motion. Kotter and Schlesinger (1979) and Waterman (1987) suggest that most companies or divisions need to make moderate organizational changes at least every year, with major changes every 45 years.

How can so much motion be conceptualized and understood, so that leaders can manage it?

Kurt Lewin, a noted organizational theorist, was one of the first to address the process of change. Lewin (1951) has proposed that changes result from the impact of a set of driving forces upon restraining forces. Figure 51 shows Lewin's theme of a state of equilibrium which is always under some pressure to changes.