Meaning, Definition, Forces, Nature of Organisational Change

Organisational Change Meaning

Change refers to any alteration that occurs in a total work environment. Generally, people are accustomed to a well-established way of life and any variation or deviation from that life may be called a change.

Organisational changes are the changes in attitude, nature and interest of employees, technological and environmental changes related to an organization and changes in rules and regulations affecting the organisation. It involves equilibrium in the situation and environment in which the people and the group exist.

Thus, change is the coping process of moving from the present state to the desired state that people, groups and organisations undertake in response to dynamic external and  internal factors that change current realities, 

Organisational Change Definition

According to Francis and Sinclair, “Organisational change is an ongoing process of social construction that comprises spiral patterns of discursive change and restructuring of collective meanings.

According to Organisation Development and Research Organisation, “Organisational change is the implementation of new procedures and technologies intended to realign an organisation with the changing demands of its business environment or to capitalise on business opportunities”,

According to Van de Ven and Poole, “Organisational change was expressed as an empirical observation of difference in form, quality, or state over time in an organisational entity. The entity may be a person’s job, a workgroup, an organisational strategy, a product, a programme, or the overall organisation”.

Related Article:- Importance of Organisational Behaviour

Nature of Organisational Change

The nature of organisational change includes:

1) Change Disturbs Old Equilibrium: When change occurs in any part of the organization, it disturbs the old equilibrium necessitating the growth of a new equilibrium. The type of new equilibrium depends on the extent of change and its effect on the organisation.

2) Change Affects Whole Organisation: Any change may affect the whole organisation; some elements of the organisation may be affected more, others less; some parts may be affected directly or indirectly. 

3) Change is a Continuous Process: Change in an organisation is a continuous process. However, some changes which are of negligible type may be absorbed by the existing equilibrium; others, which are the main ones, may need special change efforts. 

4) Change is Perceptual and Behavioural: It is a way of thinking and a set of behaviours to enact that thinking. 

5) Change Affects Individuals in the Multiple Roles: Change affects individuals in the multiple roles they assume in their lives- as individuals with personal goals and interests; as members of workgroups, organisations, or both; and as members of families responsible for the welfare of others. Human beings often respond negatively to change because they sense a resultant loss of control over their jobs, routines, and lives. 

6) Change is Natural: It is the rule, not the exception. Slow change, which does not characterise many contemporary organisations, seems easier to adjust than rapid change, which individuals often equate with disruption.

Forces for Organisational Change

The changes stem from several factors or sources. Some of these are external forces that arise outside the organisation, whereas others are internal, arising from sources within the organisation.

Various factors leading to or influencing organisational change are as follows:

Forces for Organisational Change

1) External Forces: External forces include the following factors:

i) Technology: It is a major external force that calls for change. Computer technology and automation have made a remarkable impact on the functioning of organisations in recent times Technological advancement is thus a permanent fixture in the business world and it continues to demand a manager’s attention as a pressure for change.

ii) Marketing Conditions: Marketing conditions are not static. They are in the process of rapid change as the desires, needs, and expectations of the customers change frequently. Moreover, there is tough competition between suppliers and manufacturers in the market. New media of advertisement and advertising are being used for influencing buyers. All these factors put great pressure on modern organisations to change their technologies and marketing strategies. 

iii) Social Changes: Because of the spread of education, knowledge explosion and government efforts, social changes are taking place at a fast speed. The aim for social equality has posed new challenges for management. The management has to follow social norms in shaping its marketing, employment, and other policies.

iv) Political Forces: Political forces that lie outside and inside the country have an important influence on large business houses, particularly transnational corporations. The interference of government in business has raised tremendously in most countries.

Many laws have been passed to control the movements of the corporate sector. The organisations have no control over the political and legal forces, but they have to adapt to meet the pressure of these forces.

v) Globalisation: In today’s open market economy, the power players are multinationals or transactional in every country across the globe. This has undeniably raised the level of competition for every concerned party. Now to survive and remain afloat, an organisation will have to compete not only with orders in its own country but also with the best ones from the world.

vi) Workforce Diversity: It is quite apparent that the composition of today’s workforce has changed significantly over the past few years. Today we find more females reporting to work than before. All around, the level of education is higher.

The average age of individuals working also varies a great deal with more and more people joining the workforce after retiring from their previous occupations as well as with a sizable portion coming from the student sections.

vii) Changing Economic Conditions: The constantly changing economy has been very challenging for organisations in recent years. The worldwide recession in the 90s required the laying of work in almost every organisation.

Though for a brief period in the late nineties, there was some improvement in the economy, the recent years are again experiencing a downward trend. All these have forced organisations to change their ways of functioning.

2) Internal Forces: Internal forces include the following:

i) Changes in Managerial Personnel: Changes in organisations are quite fast when executives at the top change. No two executives have the same philosophy and style. The new executive will follow his style and will like to put into practice his ideas and philosophy.

This may lead to important changes in the organisation in terms of organisation design, allocation of work to individuals, delegation of authority, installation of controls, etc.

ii) Changes in Operative Personnel: The profile of the workforce is changing fast. The new generations of workers have better educational qualifications, place greater emphasis on human values and question the authority of managers. Their behaviour is very complex and leading them to organisational goals is a challenge.

iii) Deficiencies in Existing Structure: Changes may be needed to make up for deficiencies in the present organisational setup. These deficiencies may be in the form of the unmanageable span of management, a  larger number of managerial levels, lack of coordination among various departments, obstacles in communication, lack of uniformity in policy decisions, and so on. 

iv) Changes in Employee Expectations: It can also trigger a change in organisations. An organisation that hires a group of young newcomers may be met with a set of expectations very different from those represented by senior workers. The workforce is more educated than ever before.

Although this has its advantages, employees with higher education demand more from employers. The new generation workforce nowadays is not only career-minded. Rather they are more concerned with their family and career balance issues, thus often favouring flexitime or opportunities to work at their own pace.

v) Changes in Work Climate: Changes in the work climate in an organisation also stimulate change. A workforce that seems unmotivated, lethargic, and dissatisfied is a symptom that must be addressed. This kind of symptom is common in organisations that have experienced layoffs.

Employees who have escaped a layoff may grieve for those who have lost their jobs and may find it challenging to continue to be productive. They may worry that they will be laid off as well and may feel insecure in their jobs.

You May Also Like:-

Organisational Politics