Causes of Organizational Change

This is a time of unprecedented change in our society. The changes one experiences are happening at faster and faster rates. As examples, the telephone, radio, TV, and microwave weren't even in use decades ago, and today these gadgets are commonplace, along with the computer, Internet, and fax machine.

In just a few months, the technology that an organization uses on an everyday basis may be outdated and replaced. That means an organization needs to be responsive to advances in the technological environment; its employees' work skills must evolve as technology evolves. Organizations that refuse to adapt are likely to be the ones that won't be around in a few short years. If an organization wants to survive and prosper, its managers must continually innovate and adapt to new situations.

Every organization goes through periods of transformation that can cause stress and uncertainty. To be successful, organizations must embrace many types of change. Businesses must develop improved production technologies, create new products desired in the marketplace, implement new administrative systems, and upgrade employees' skills. Organizations that adapt successfully are both profitable and admired.

Managers must contend with all factors that affect their organizations. The following lists internal and external environmental factors that can encourage organizational changes:

  • The external environment is affected by political, social, technological, and economic stimuli outside of the organization that cause changes.
  • The internal environment is affected by the organization's management policies and styles, systems, and procedures, as well as employee attitudes.

Typically, the concept of organizational change is used to describe organization‐wide change, as opposed to smaller changes such as adding a new person, modifying a program, and so on. Examples of organization‐wide change might include a change in mission, restructuring operations (for example, restructuring to self‐managed teams or due to layoffs), new technologies, mergers, or new programs such as Total Quality Management, re‐engineering, and so on.

Managers should note that all changes should be implemented as part of a strategy to accomplish an overall goal; these transformations should not take place just for the sake of change.

Stages of planned change.