Understanding Change2.pngPlanning Change.pngImplementing Change.pngCommunicating Change.png


vie_accomp.jpgOrganisational change is often stimulated by a major external force, for example, substantial cuts in funding, decreased market opportunity and dramatic increases in services. Typically, organisations undertake technical, structural or strategic shifts in the organisation to evolve to a different level in their life cycle.

Changes in the environment act as forces that drive the company towards change. The need for change generally arises in response to a combination of one or more of the following:
  • Industry discontinuities — these are sharp changes in legal, political, or technological conditions that shift the basis of competition within industries;
  • Product life-cycle shifts — over the course of a product class life, different strategies are appropriate; these are well documented in marketing texts. Also, shifts in the patterns of demand and the powerful effects of international competition may compound these forces;
  • Internal company dynamics — intertwined with these external forces are breaking points within the firm. Sheer size, for example, may require a basically new management design. Key people may leave or die. A revised parent company's strategy may drastically alter the role of the operating units. Coupled with simultaneous forces, the company either bends or breaks (Newman et al., 1986).

Organizational Design and Organizational Life Cycle are useful tools in viewing and understanding changes. 'The elements of organizational design interact with each other and send cues to employees on how to perform and react on changes within organization. Typically most changes are initiated within stages of the life cycle, while the most significant ones seem to occur between cycles' (Kleiner and Corrigan, 1989).

'An understanding of the role of culture is essential in successful implementation of change. According to Tunstall (1986) in a relatively stable environment, culture is supportive of mission and success, and is to be nurtured and encouraged. Also, in the face of change, culture may threaten adaptation and thus corporate success if not modified' (Kleiner and Corrigan, 1989).

If the stages people typically go through when dealing with change are well understood the managing transition process can be done successfully. Theories about how organizations change are based on the underlying principle of that change does not happen in isolation – it impacts the whole organization (system) around it, and all the people touched by it:

The Change Curve
Lewin’s Change Management Model
Beckhard and Harris’s Change Model


Kleiner, B. H., & Corrigan, W. A. (1989). Understanding organisational change. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 10(3), 25-31.

'Leading Change, Transition & Transformation', The University of Adelaide, Australia,