Friday, August 27, 2010



Organisation Change

In organisational behaviour, “organisation change” refers to organisation-wide change rather than to small changes. Examples of organisation-wide change might include a change in mission, restructuring operations, the adoption of major new technologies, and mergers.17

When two separate companies merged, they take the path of radical change.13 This is change that results in a major make-over of the organisation and of its component system. Change management has been defined as “the process of continually renewing an organisation’s direction, structure, and capabilities to serve the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers’.12


Change Strategies

Dunphy and Stace4 proposed typology of change strategies with two dimensions (incremental versus transformative, and collaborative versus coercive). Yukongdi18 expanded these to three dimensions:

  • proactive versus reactive strategies;
  • incremental versus transformative strategies;
  • dictated versus collaborative delegated strategies.


Proactive-Reactive Strategy

The proactive-reactive dimension represents a fundamental aspect of an organisations strategic approach to change. Reactive change occurs in response to specific imminent pressure on the organisation from internal or external forces. Proactive change is initiated without any specific pressure in order to enhance organisational performance or improve organisational climate and culture.

Strategy is not new in the change management realm. Strategies are ways of pursuing the vision and mission.8 With change processes inherently complex, having clear priorities helps maintain order and keeps the process manageable.3 The psychological contract is an important consideration when examining the response of people to restructuring and is an unspoken understanding that people hold about the nature of their positions and their interaction with the organisation.6 When planning organisational change it is important to involve as many people in the discussion and decision making process. Ideally, everyone would have some opportunity to participate.

Participation in itself may not guarantee effectiveness.15 There should be several formalised ways to communicate so that the process is apparent to the people affected.10 The influence of participation on a set of dimensions related to the success of the implementation of deliberate strategic change is believed to have a number of positive effects on the strategy process. Most notably, it is assumed that involvement of those affected by a change in strategy will reduce organisational resistance and to create a higher level of psychological commitment among employees towards the proposed changes.11 Also, participation has been argued to lead to qualitatively better strategic decisions.9 One reason for this being that a broader array of relevant skills, competencies and information is brought to bear on each stage in the strategic decision process.


Incremental-Transformative Strategy

The second dimension, incremental-transformative, refers to the implementation strategy for effecting organisational change.18 Dunphy and Stace5 defined four types of change including fine-tuning, incremental adjustment, modular transformation and corporate transformation. 

Corporate transformation encompasses change that is corporation-wide, characterised by radical shifts in business strategy, and revolutionary changes throughout the whole company. In large-scale changes such as organisational mergers and acquisition, restructures and downsizing efforts is common, and that this type of changes are often associated with significant, negative consequences for individuals in terms of their attitudes and well-being.7

Authors have suggested that transformational changes generally have detrimental effect on individuals as they involve a great deal of conflict and often bring to the fore personality issues and other differences that have previously been sublimated, adding to the confusion and uncertainty within the organisation.2 The finding in the study by Rafferty and Simons15 provides evidence that it is worthwhile to treat readiness for corporate transformation changes.


Dictated-Collaborative Delegated Strategy

The third dimension on which change strategies can be classified, dictated-collaborative-delegated, relates to both the formulation of the change and its implementation.18  Participation is believed to make political realities of the organisation more salient and thus lead to choices that are based on political as well as socio-technical considerations. These and other putative effects are believed to lead to successful implementation of strategic change.11 Some authors have argued that an important process mediating the link between participation and attitudes towards change and the organisation itself is that of building commitment to a decision and trust in change leadership. Trust in turn is related to the use of authentic participative processes in which solutions are developed in a collaborative manner with genuine consideration of each participant’s input values and views.11

Next topic: Power and politics issues during the change be continued


1. Allen, RW, Madison, DL, Porter, LW, Renwick, PA & Mayes, BT 1979,’Organizational Politics: Tactics and Characteristics of its Actors’, California Management Review, pp. 77

2. Ashford, SJ 1988, ‘Individual strategies for coping with stress during organizational transitions’, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, vol. 24, pp. 19–36

3. Bruch, H, Gerber,P & Maier, V 2005,’Strategic Change Decisions: Doing the Right Change Right’, Joumal of Change Management,vol. 5, issue 1, pp. 97-107

4. Dunphy, DC & Stace, DA 1988, ‘Transformational and coercive strategies for planned organizational change, beyond the OD model’, Organizational Studies,vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 6-19

5. Dunphy, D & Stace, D 1993, ‘The strategic management of corporate change’, Human Relations,vol. 57, no. 2, March-April, pp. 106-14

6. Feldheim, M & Liou, K 1999,’Downsizing Trust’, “http:/

7. George, JM & Jones, GR 2001,’Towards a process model of individual change in organizations’, Human Relations, vol. 54, issue 4, pp. 419–444

8. Gill, R 2003, ‘Change Management or Change Leadership?’, Journal of Change Management, vol.3 (4), pp. 307-318

9. Kim, WC & Mauborgne, R 1998,’Procedural justice, strategicdecision making and the knowledge economy’,Strategic Management Journal, 19, pp. 323-338

10.Lees, M & Taylor, G 2004,’Mergers and the new workplace:The effects of a merger of two emergency departments on nursing staff’, Journal of Health & Human Services Administration, Vol. 26 Issue 4, pp. 470-484

11. Lines, R 2004, ‘Influence of participation in strategic change: resistance, organizational commitment and change goal achievement’, Journal of Change Managagement, vol. 4, issue 3, pp. 193–215

12. Moran, JW & Brightman, BK 2001, ‘Leading organizational change’, Career Development International, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 111-18

13. Nadler, D & Tushman, M 1998, Strategic Organizational Design, Foresman

14. Pollard, TM 2001,’ Changes in mental well-being, blood pressure and total cholesterol levels during workplace reorganization: The impact of uncertainty’, Work and Stress, vol. 15, issue 1, pp. 14–28

15. Rafferty, A & Simons, R 2006,‘An examination of the antecedents of readiness for fine-tuning and corporate transformation changes’, Journal of Business & Psychology, vol. 20, issue 3, pp. 325-350

16. Robbins, SP & Judge, TA 2009, Organizational Behaviour:13th Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

17. Wood, J, Zeffane, R, Fromholtz, M & Fitzgerald, J 2006, Organisational Behaviour: Core Concepts and Applications, John Wiley & Sons Australia

18. Yukongdi, V 2009, MGT5000 Management and Organisational Behaviour, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba

Change management strategies utilised in managing change and their effectiveness, Written by Christopher Lim

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