Organizational Changes: Meaning, Causes, Response and Process

20/04/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

Organizational change refers to any alteration that occurs in total work environment. Organizational change is an important characteristic of most organizations. An organization must develop adaptability to change otherwise it will either be left behind or be swept away by the forces of change. Organizational change is inevitable in a progressive culture. Modern organizations are highly dynamic, versatile and adaptive to the multiplicity of changes.

Organizational change refers to the alteration of structural relationships and roles of people in the organization. It is largely structural in nature. An enterprise can be changed in several ways. Its technology can be changed, its structure, its people and other elements can be changed. Organizational change calls for a change in the individual behaviour of the employees.

Organizations survive, grow or decay depending upon the changing behaviour of the employees. Most changes disturb the equilibrium of situation and environment in which the individuals or groups exist. If a change is detrimental to the interests of individuals or groups, they will resist the change.

Causes of Organizational Change

  1. External Pressures

(a) Change in Technology and Equipment

Advancements in technology is the major cause (i.e., external pressure) of change. Each technological alternative results in new forms of organization to meet and match the needs.

(b) Market Situation

Changes in market situation include rapidly changing goals, needs and desires of consumers, suppliers, unions etc. If an organization has to survive, it has to cope with changes in market situations.

(c) Social and Political Changes

Organizational units literally have no control over social and political changes in the country. Relations between government and business or drive for social equality are some factors which may compel for organizational change.

  1. Internal Pressures (Pressures for Change from Within the Organization):

(a) Changes in the Managerial Personnel

One of the most frequent reasons for major changes in the organization is the change of executives at the top. No two managers have the same style, skills or managerial philosophies.

(b) Deficiencies in the Existing Organization

Many deficiencies are noticed in the organizations with the passage of time. A change is necessary to remove such deficiencies as lack of uniformity in the policies, obstacles in communication, any ambiguity etc.

(c) Other Factors

Certain other factors such as listed below also demand a change in the organization.

Employee’s desire to share in decision-making

Employee’s desire for higher wage rate

Improvement in working conditions, etc.

Response to Organizational Change

Every change is responded by the people working in the organization. These responses may be positive or negative depending upon the fact as how they affect people.

Before introducing a change, the manager should study and understand employee’s attitudes so as to create a positive response. Three sets of factors-psychological, personal and social- govern the attitude of people.

Process of Organizational Change

Unless the behavioural patterns of the employees change, the change will have a little impact on the effectiveness of the organization.

A commonly accepted model for bringing change in people was suggested by Kurt Lewin in terms of three phase process:

  1. Unfreezing

The essence of unfreezing phase is that the individual is made to realize that his beliefs, feelings and behaviour are no longer appropriate or relevant to the current situation in the organization. Once convinced, people may change their behaviour. Reward for those willing to change and punishment for others may help in this matter.

  1. Changing

Once convinced and ready to change, an individual, under this phase, learns to behave in new ways. He is first provided with the model in which he is to identify himself. Gradually he will accept that model and behave in the manner suggested by the model. In another process (known as internalisation), the individual is placed in a situation where new behaviour is demanded of him if he is to operate successfully.

  1. Refreezing

During this phase, a person has to practice and experiment with the new method of behaviour and see that it effectively blends with his other behavioural attitudes. Reinforcement, for creating a permanent set in the individual, is provided through either continuous or intermittent schedules