Organizational Change, Its Nature and Implementation

Nature of Organizational Change

An organization is a group of people who work together with coordinated efforts to achieve certain objectives or goals. Organizational goals and objectives are of various categories and it is this variation of goals and objectives which classify organizations into three main categories namely profit making, service based and social responsibility based organizations (Murray, Poole, & Jones, 2006).

Organizations operate in dynamic socio-cultural, political and economic environments. This makes them to constantly keep in implementing changes so as to remain on course in achieving their goals and objectives. Organizational change can be first order or second order change. First order change is a change which is reversible. This type of change entails doing the same things and is usually non transformational and aims at restoring equilibrium in the systems of an organization or retaining the status quo. First order changes therefore happen within the existing organizational structure and do not entail any form of learning (Cummings & Worley, 2008). Second order change is a change which is irreversible. This type of change involves doing fundamentally new things within an organization; either as a result of internal or external pressure. This type of change is usually transformational and thus entails the learning of new concepts as well as the adoption of new approaches to organizational functions, processes and procedures (Towers, 2008).

Organizational change may emanate from internal or external environment of an organization. Internal environment constitute things like profit maximization, expansion, bankruptcy, change of objectives, adoption of new technology as well as mergers and acquisitions. External environment constitute the things which are beyond the control of the organization and may include things like competition, increased cost of production, political and social risks as well as inflation (Robbins, 1996).

Recommendations for successfully implementing organizational changes

There are various theoretical models of change management which can be used by managers to successfully implement organizational changes. One such model is Kurt Lewin’s approach to change management which falls under the category of teleological model of change. Lewin came up with what he called three stage theory which involves three stages or steps namely unfreezing, changing and freezing (Cummings & Worley, 2008).

In the first step (unfreezing), the organization is supposed to be motivated and prepared for the change. Basically, this stage is about doing a cost benefit analysis about the proposed change and weighing whether the pros of the change outweighs the cons, then creating the necessary motivation for the change. This stage is therefore the preparatory stage and is very crucial because it determines the success of the change if effected. When employees are highly motivated to change, the resistance to change is minimized and vice versa (Cummings & Worley, 2008). The management must therefore engage the employees and create a state of discontentment with the prevailing conditions in the organization. While doing this, the management should also ensure that deadlines are set for coming up with a new dispensation of doing things (Cummings & Worley, 2008).

The next stage is the change stage which is also known as the transition stage and involves implementing the change. This is the hardest stage in change implementation because employees are always reluctant to move out of their comfort zones. During this stage therefore, employees need to be guided and encouraged to undertake the change. In order to realize a smooth sailing through this stage, employees need to be given the necessary training for them to acquire the knowledge and skills for navigating successfully through the transition stage (Cummings & Worley, 2008). The final stage is the freezing stage, which is also known as refreezing stage. During this stage, the organization has successfully sailed through the change process and is now living in a new dispensation. There is therefore the need of creating a new culture in the organization which is in line with the new organizational dispensation (Cummings & Worley, 2008).

Management’s Role in the Change Process

Management is about planning, coordinating and controlling organizational resources so as to facilitate the achievement of organizational goals and objectives in an efficient and effective manner. The nature of management therefore only allows for the top leadership of an organization to act as the drivers of the organization in a way which facilitates the organization to achieve its goals and objectives, including the management of organizational change. In the change process, managers play the role of implementing the proposed change in a cost effective and efficient manner so as to minimize resistance of the change. The management should be actively involved in brainstorming and evaluation of the organizational functions and processes as well as doing an environmental scan to understand the market trends so as to inform the change process (Grant, 2002).

The management should also be able to analyze the market and see the need for the radical departure from bureaucratic red tape and create a lean organization, which is highly decentralized so as to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness (Grant, 2002).


Cummings, T.G & Worley, C.G. (2008). Organization development & change. Farmington, MI: Cengage Learning..

Grant, R. M. (2002). ‘Organizational Restructuring within the Royal Dutch/Shell Group’. Web.

Murray,P., Poole, D & Jones, G. (2006).Contemporary issues in Management and Organizational Behavior. Farmington Hills, MI: Cengage Learning.

Robbins, S.P. (1996). Organizational behavior: concepts, controversies, applications, (7th Ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Towers, I. (2008). Organizational change: processes, contexts and perspectives. Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4: Library and Archives Canada..