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Organizational Behavior: Solutions for Management
Paul D. Sweeney, University of Central Florida
Dean B. McFarlin, University of Dayton

Creating and Implementing Organizational Change

Learning Objectives


This chapter tackles what many think is the most difficult problem in all of organizational behavior - recognizing the need for and implementing organizational change.


Assuming that change is necessary, either because of some unplanned event or because of some willful interest in changing direction, what exactly should be changed? Four types of change that vary in scope include- strategic, technological, structural, and people-type change. Each has some well-known effects and problems, and change in one area often affects one or more of the other areas.


Once a decision is made about what type of change to target, implementation issues loom large. Taking the company pulse for its readiness to change is often a useful start.


Even if there’s a readiness for change, few change efforts go perfectly. Many actually encounter some form of resistance. While there are several ways to overcome resistance points, accurately diagnosing a particular situation is required for the effective use of those methods.


Sometimes help is needed to provide a sober and accurate assessment of the organization. That’s when a change agent can be of use. While it is common to employ consultants to help with the diagnosis, there are also some dangers in the knee-jerk use of experts to lead an organizational change.


Whether change is led from inside the organization or with the help of outside consultants, there are a variety of organizational development (OD) techniques that can be used. These techniques focus on the people-side of organizational change.


Finally, it is important to systematically evaluate the effect of change efforts, although this is something that is (surprisingly) done much less frequently than it should be.