What do you understand by Organisational Change ? What are the reasons for Organisational

Organisational change describes a situation where there is a management driven change affecting the provision of services and which has an effect upon the employment contract.

Organisational change is defined by Meyer and Botha – as “……the movement of people from a current state to a defined state, different, improved and desired new state through a set of planned and integrated interventions (2000, 223)


Change encompasses many aspects and forms includes many concepts and due to the dynamics and consequences included, unleashes many varied responses from leaders, managers and the workforce in and around organizations.

There are many handbooks containing theories, models and blueprints about organisational change, strategic change, management and organisational development at large. Mergers, acquisitions, outsourcing, downsizing, streamlining, restructuring, re-engineering, creating a new organisational landscape and architecture, transformation, transition, revolution, creating the winning organization, etc. etc. is almost old hat with most managers in any established organization.

It is however important to take careful note of some aspects pertaining to organisational changes before we focus on what we believe should be factored in on any organization change strategy.

    1. Forces of change (Kreitner, Kinicki p 562 and further)


The external forces effecting change could be summarized with the following headings.

  1. Demographic characteristics: This includes age, gender, race and more, particularly the increase in diversity and the imperative to manage diversity.

  1. Technological developments: Many organisations have utilized technology as a means to improve productivity and market competitiveness, automisation and computer technology is two well-known developments in this regard.

  1. Market changes:

The emerging global economy is a reality facing more and more companies and organisations to change the way in which they do business or in which they operate. The international demand for quality products, lower prices, after sales service, client satisfaction, etc. etc. have forced many companies into collaborative arrangements, cooperative ventures and even alliances with former competitors.

  1. Social and political pressure. Employee and public values, needs, priorities and motivation are influenced by political and social developments and events. Managers need to adjust their management styles to meet these values and needs.

      1. Internal forces: Internal forces for change are operative from inside the organisation.

  1. Human resource factors. Employee perceptions about working conditions, treatment, and the alignment between individual and organisational needs are important in this regard. Fact is that without the employees’ buy-in and commitment and dedication, no progress is possible. Therefore stressors need to be removed, sources of conflict identified and removed, role conflict, overload and ambiguity need to be reduced.

  1. Managerial behavior/decisions: Excessive interpersonal conflict is often a clear sign that change is needed. Due to the important role of the manager in introducing and managing change in the organisation, skills training and capacity building programmes for both manager and employee might be necessary.

Without spending too much time on aspects like different types of change, resistance to change, factors inhibiting change – which in itself is important to the management of the change process, we would like to focus our attention on a few critical aspects pertaining to change in organizations.

The first one is a systems model of change (Fugua and Kurpius as adopted by Kreitner and Kinicke 1995 p. 568)

Target Elements of Change

Organizing Arrangements

  • Policies

  • Procedures

  • Roles

  • Structure

  • Rewards

  • Physical setting


  • Desired end results

  • Priorities

  • Standards

  • Resources

  • Linkage through-out organization

Social Factors

  • Organization culture

  • Group processes

  • Interpersonal interactions

  • Communication

  • Leadership


  • Knowledge

  • Ability

  • Attitudes

  • Motivation

  • Behavior


  • Processes

  • Work flow

  • Job design

  • Technology


  • Strengths

  • Weaknesses


  • Opportunities

  • Threats

  • Organizational level

  • Department/Group level

  • Individual level

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