Planning and managing change, both cultural and technological, is one of the most challenging elements of a manager's job.
Obviously, the more a manager can plan in anticipation of a change, the better she serves her subordinates and the organization. Diagnosing the causes of change and structuring a program to promote a smooth transition to the new process, structure, and so on, is critical to a manager's success.
Managers need to be aware that organizations change in a number of dimensions that often relate to one another. These dimensions include
- Extent of planning: Although experts differ about how much change can be planned, managers still need to take steps to set up conditions that permit and even encourage change to occur.
- Degree of change: Changes may be incremental (relatively small, involving fine‐tuning processes and behaviors within just one system or level of the organization) or quantum (significant change altering how a company operates).
- Degree of learning: This dimension relates to the degree to which organizational members are actively involved in learning how to plan and implement change while helping solve an existing problem.
- Target of change: Organizational change programs can vary with respect to the hierarchical level or functional area of which the change is targeted. Some changes are designed to influence top management and assist them in becoming stronger leaders. Other change programs may involve basic learning, such as customer services techniques for lower level employees.
- Organization's structure: Is it very stiff and bureaucratic? Is there a need for emphasis on policies, procedures, and rules? Some organizations are very stiff and bureaucratic and may need to “loosen up.” Other organizations may suffer from lack of organization structure. They may need to emphasize policies, procedures, and rules.