5 Types Of Organizational Change

There are several types of organizational change and there are numerous factors which may force companies to make these organizational changes. These factors may vary from social trends, a weakened economy, regulatory forces, technology or even political reasons.

5 Types Of Organizational Change

Organization Wide Change

In some quarters, this is largely referred to as restructuring or right sizing. In most instances, this type of change is usually accompanied with employee hiring and employee layoffs. This type of change may also in some instances refer to a change in the employee culture. This change usually involves major programs which affect both groups and individuals. They usually occur over an extended period of time and do call for proper planning and execution.

There are different types of organizational level changes such as structural changes which normally involve changing the internal working structure of the organization and do involve having changes to a whole set of relationships, authority structure and work assignments. Strategic changes are also a good example of organizational changes; this involves changing basic objectives or mission of the organization in question.

Process oriented change is also a type of organizational change which relates to technological developments, automation and information processing. This type of change usually involves retraining and replacing personnel and normally calls for some heavy capital investment on equipment. It should be noted that irrespective of the type of change undertaken, these changes do affect the organizational culture and as an end result, it does affect the behavior patterns of employees and individuals.

Transformational Change 

This refers to change which affects the organization from the very top at the CEO level to the very lowest cadre of employees. The entire hierarchy of the organization may be examined, dismantled and then regrouped accordingly.

A good example has been the current trend of many companies where they have been doing away with middle level managers. These changes are usually implemented with an intention of improving the workings, profit margins and overall bottom line of the company in question. These kinds of changes are also undertaken after taking into keen consideration several factors and are usually as a result of well thought out recommendations from consultants or work group.

The opposite of this particular change is what is known as incremental change where the company leaders will go ahead and implement changes in relatively small steps such as introducing a new computer system, transferring duties from one office to another and not replacing certain positions which become vacant over a certain period of time.

Personnel Change

With the ever increasing number of layoffs in many organizations, many scholars have added this to the list of organizational changes which must and should be studied. This has been necessitated by the changes in company culture which are brought about by such massive layoffs.

In the case of such layoffs, the remaining employees tend to have low morale, become more distrustful of the management and are usually keener on looking for greener pastures. Remaining employees may also have to multitask and do several tasks which they may have been doing before.

It should also be noted that certain companies decide to furlough employees across the company rather than lay off a few employees. Even though this may save a few employees from losing their jobs, this is bound to affect the culture of the company as many employees tend to suffer from financial hardship due to loss of income.

Unplanned Change

Before the highly publicized downturn in the world economy, many organizations planned changes so as to make the workplace profitable and more efficient. But with the advent of these economic downturns, many organizations have been forced to make some unprecedented changes which are quite drastic, painful and in most instances are related to the finances of the company.

Other surprises such as natural disasters which include occurrences such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods do force companies to change tact pretty fast and adapt to the current situation and make changes which are meant to ensure that the company remains viable even after such an occurrence.

A company that produces or manufactures its products in a country where a natural disaster has occurred may be forced by the new circumstances to rethink its production value chain and maybe relocate their manufacturing plant from one place to the other. This may have to be done very fast and does in most instances come at a relatively high cost.

It is worth noting that most of the times these unplanned changes are usually chaotic and expensive because they have to be done fast and within given time spans so as to make economic sense. They also tend to be performed on a short term basis as the management plans for a more comprehensive and permanent solution to the current problem.

Remedial Changes

These are changes which are to some extent forced upon the organization due to their poor performance. This is usually due to some financial distress which the company or organization may be going through at a particular time. These changes may vary greatly, including actions such as cutting down some budgetary allocations, stopping a particular production line or putting the brakes on planned company expansion.

These remedial changes are usually made with the intention of making the company more proactive in the future and cutting down on any losses accruing from certain actions which may previously been considered profitable or necessary but which due to unforeseen circumstances, have now proven to be quite costly and unnecessary.

Due to their nature, these remedial changes are usually quite swift and in most occasions they do come as a surprise to the middle level and low cadre employees. In some instances though, there may be no immediate cost bearing problems for the company but the management may foresee a problem in the future. Such a scenario usually calls for changes which are more developmental and may involve a variety of tasks such as the improvement of customer service, enhancing of employee satisfaction levels and striving to improve customer retention numbers.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge that every type of change does have some effect on the organization and it is up to the affected organization to manage the change positively and ensure that the changes envisaged are positive; both to the company’s bottom line and to the culture of the company in question. Even though most if not all types of organizational change is bound to be disruptive, it is important to ensure that it does not greatly and negatively affect the day to day running of the affairs of the company at any given time.



Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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