Organizational Change Theories in Companies


An organization is made up of integrated social systems that have been split up into small structures or groups that utilize various resources to produce certain outputs. An operating room in a hospital depicts the characteristics of an organization. The enhancement of the performance of a nursing institution requires organizational change. Organizational change entails the change of operational processes in a bid to improve the efficiency of an organization (Myers, Hulks & Wiggins, 2012). This paper will focus on organizational theories and the anticipation of change. Effective steps of change implementation will be discussed considering the trends affecting hospital organizations and how members can be motivated to adapt to change.

Change Theories

Change theories seek to explain the structural, operational, cultural, strategic, and technological changes within an organization (Palmer, Dunford & Akin, 2008). The following are some of the organizational change theories that apply to a hospital room operating environment.

Lewin’s Change Theory

Kurt Lewin is credited with developing this theory of organizational change, which has been used widely to understand the organizational change in nursing. This approach involves three steps that organizational change goes through. The approach uses the unfreeze-change-refreeze model of organizational change (Demers, 2007). The unfreezing stage entails getting rid of counterproductive processes in an organization. The change or “movement” entails processes that depict the change in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The refreezing stage focuses on the establishment of the new habit that portrays organizational change. The three phases lead to the formation of standard operating procedures in the hospital environment (Demers, 2007).

Diffusion of Innovation Theory

Everett Rogers developed the diffusion of innovation theory. He theorized a framework that would apply to the diffusion of innovation in organizations. Rogers came up with five elements of clinical behavior that determine the adoption of an innovation and they include “relative advantage, complexity, compatibility, trialability, and observability” (Myers et al., 2012, p. 109). Complexity depicts the degree to which an innovation is hard to comprehend and use in an organizational setting. Trialability refers to the scale of the modification of innovation into the existing structures. Observability portrays how the changes are visible to other members of the organization.

Lippit, Watson, and Wesley Phases of Theory of Change

Lippit, Watson, and Wesley extended Lewin’s theory of organizational change but concentrated more on the functions of the change agent than on the growth of change. They formulated a seven-step theory with continuous information exchange process, problem diagnosis, change motivation and assessment, change agent resource and motivation assessment, choice of liberal change agents, precise selection and understanding of change agents role, change maintenance and gradual withdrawal of the change agent from their role. They believed that change is better grounded when it spreads to neighboring systems or subparts of the system (Palmer et al., 2008).

Considering the above three theories of change, it would be advisable to implement the diffusion of innovation theory in a hospital operating room environment. This assertion holds because the dynamic nature of the modern world has subjected the health sector to various innovations that have behavioral implications for both clinical practitioners and patients. Relative advantage is perceived to enhance cost-effectiveness when patients adopt new behaviors. Compatibility ensures that the changes address actual problems faced by clinicians and patients in the hospital environment. Additionally, observability stimulates the discussion on how innovation has been influential to the output of the clinical services offered (Demers, 2007).

The anticipation of the Effects of Change in an Organization

Organizational change is inevitable, and thus members would be subjected to negative and positive effects. Resistance to change may develop from some members, thus resulting in adverse impacts on the organization. Low morale is expected from pessimistic members who are resistant to change (Gibbons, 2015). In this light, low morale tends to spread to other members of the organization, thus resulting in inefficiencies in the recruitment and retention of clinicians in the hospital operating room.

A disruptive working environment may emerge due to the introduction of new ideas into the operations of an organization. Commotions may arise from members, who are pessimistic and skeptical about the integration of innovations into the operating room procedures. Therefore, individuals should anticipate a disruptive working environment as a negative implication of change (Singh, 2009).

Steps that Reduce the Negative Effects of Implementing Change in an Organization

Various factors may hinder an individual from taking part in organizational change. This aspect requires the change agent to consider the individual’s attitude about the outcomes of engaging or not engaging in that particular change and the incentives put in place to ensure that people show their appreciation and support for the desired change. The organization should provide information to the employees based on their characteristics and personal understanding of risks. The organization should be precise on the conditions of the change, enable the individuals to understand when to take the necessary action, and avail the necessary resources in a bid to address the consequences or mitigate the effects of the change (Cummings, Fraser & Tarlier, 2003).

The organization should give the individual an impetus to set realistic plans and provide the intended feedback and problem-solving mechanisms. The organization should also deploy different measures to address the needs of the employees individually such as providing training and assessment exercises, motivating the employee to figure out solutions by themselves, establishing progressive goal-setting mechanisms, and deploying tools for performance assessment. If the organization succeeds in changing the individual’s interpersonal behavior, s/he will be in a position to change the organizational environment (Cummings et al., 2003).

Monitoring Trends that Influence Organizational Change

Globalization has brought about new trends that affect organizational operations, thus resulting in change. The hospital operating room organization is subject to a range of new trends that need to be monitored for effective organizational change to take place. The growth of alternative methods of care that entails maximization of out-of-hospital care implies that clinicians need to employ more ambulatory and home care services. In this regard, changes in the operation of activities are inevitable (Singh, 2009).

The increased focus on cost efficiency in organizational performance influences organizational change. Organizations need to monitor new trends that facilitate cost-effectiveness in a bid to prepare for change. This aspect implies that workforce compensation and resource utilization needs to be considered for the implementation of cost efficiency operations. Similarly, trends such as IT pervasiveness, patient safety, optimization of outcomes, and the evolution of healthcare models need to be monitored for an organization to plan strategically for change (Cummings et al., 2003).

Motivation in Organizational Change

Continuous organizational change in the health sector can take many forms that have direct implications for the clinicians. In a bid to ensure effective adoption of new ideas, the motivation of the members of an organization is crucial (Demers, 2007). Maintaining open communication with clinicians serves as an effective method of motivation. Open communications foster transparency, thus inspiring members of the organization to accept new initiatives that affect the existing systems. Negative rumors about innovations that may harm workplace morale can be mitigated through effective communication (Palmer et al., 2008).

The facilitation of learning motivates members of an organization to accept and implement new ideas in their operations. The provision of training on the importance of organizational change is not adequate for the effective adoption of continuous change. Members of an organization need to be developed in terms of their emotional maturity, compassion, and integrity in the provision of health services (Gibbons, 2003). In so doing, motivation among members would be boosted as they adopt the innovations in the operation methods.


Organizational change is necessary for the adoption of new strategies that enhance efficiency. Different theories have been developed to understand how organizational change occurs whereby various stages have to be followed. Therefore, members of an organization anticipate change differently, thus necessitating the need for motivation. Monitoring the trends that influence organizational change is essential for the facilitation of preparedness for change. The hospital operating room environment is thus subject to different aspects of change that have implications for its mission.


Cummings, G., Fraser, K., & Tarlier, S. (2003). Implementing advanced nurse practitioner roles in acute care: An evaluation of organizational change. Journal of Nursing Administration, 33(3), 139-145.

Demers, C. (2007). Organizational Change Theories: A Synthesis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Gibbons, P. (2015). The Science of Successful Organizational Change: How Leaders Set Strategy, Change Behavior and Create an Agile Culture. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Myers, P., Hulks, S., & Wiggins, L. (2012). Organizational Change: Perspectives on Theory and Practice. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Akin, G. (2008). Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Singh, K. (2009). Organization Change and Development. New Delhi, India: Excel Books.