The Main Types of Change Management

By: Chris @ChangeMBlog Smith

We’ve discussed the various models of change management in the past, like the Lewin model and the Kotter model etc. In fact, we’ve discussed them ad nauseum. However, we’ve never really talked about the types of change management, which aren’t the same as the models you follow for implementing change (which are independent of type, and vice versa). So, we’re going to talk about a few different types of change management today.

This doesn’t have anything to do with the models we’ve talked about before, but rather what sort of change and what affectations are involved in the change at hand. There are four main types of change management, though there are of course a host of other ones that kind of fall between the cracks of these. We’ll focus on these four main types today.

Before we get started, let me just point something out first. We won’t be approaching any best practices for handling these, or the like. To do that would require an entire piece be devoted to each type, and we’ll most likely do that in the future, after we’ve talked about these four different primary types.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get going.

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#1 – Organizational Change

This is all about changing the human element of a group of people. Changing the policy for interaction, behavior, shifting leadership or codes of conduct, other such things fall within organizational change.

This is one of the hardest ones to implement, and it’s one of the ones that has the higher levels of resistance as well as logistical issues. When Lewin designed his model eons ago, this was the sort of change he was really contemplating the most, when he outlined the pitfalls of change management, and I do not envy those who have to implement this type of change, to be honest.

#2 – Program Change

Program change is a reorganization and reordering of ongoing processes within a project to meet a goal. This one’s more of a logistical nightmare, and is the other one that gets the most resistance within staff, because it causes a lot of nuisances and problems, and can be a drain on efficiency and productivity, because it can really stall the ongoing business functions of an organization.

It’s distinct from organizational change, as this has little bearing on culture, where the former does in fact.

#3 – Project Change

This one’s a little less of a hassle, but it’s still not fun. This one involves changes to all aspects of a project as it is being undergone, or shortly before it is begun.

This one requires a lot of risk evaluation, cost assessment and weighing these against benefits, and is the one that calls for the most argument and apologia for the need of change.

#4 – Departmental Change

This one’s a little different from the others and pertains to departments and sets of skills or responsibilities that deal with constant change or flux. There are no established standard models when it comes to this kind of change, because departments that live in this flux tend to develop their own very incidental change models and protocols to handle the problem themselves.

And there you have it, the four main types of change management that you are likely to come across, and you’ll see that unless you’re entering a department that lives in continual change, the fourth one won’t be one to be too concerned with.

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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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