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Organizational Change: Mission Impossible?

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Many factors such as globalization, technological advances, deregulation, privatization, mergers or acquisitions coupled with a movement of labour-intensive projects to less expensive locations and changing customer demands are forcing organizations to constantly review their purpose, vision and future strategy. Most of the organizations have the objective of ‘maximization shareholder’s wealth’ but there are other key indicators that exhibit the need for adaptability to change for the company (Laurie & Frans 2002).


It has been evident recently that customer’s expectation towards organization’s behaviour goes beyond compliance with the legislation (, 2006). The customer has become more vigilant towards employment practices, human rights and emerging issues like standards of ethical conduct, caring for environment and partnership with stakeholders. Thus drawing upon Handy (1994) it can be stated that the pressure for change to survive and gain a competitive advantage in highly turbulent environment has grown in its importance in the management literature.


The literature has shown that organizational change has its implications in some of the non-tangible assets of the organization (Heather, 1994). These include corporate strategy, power distribution, corporate culture and the control systems. The process of change highlights the importance of continuous learning, flexibility, proactive strategy and risk management (, 2006). Although there are numerous models and steps provided in the literature for successful change management but there are four popular characteristics shared within the literature (Chorn, 2004):


1.         Make sure that the organization and people understand the pressure of change – why do we need to change?

2.         Develop and share a clear vision about where the organization is headed – where are we going?

3.         Put in place the individual, group and organizational capabilities for change – what do we need to make the change?

4.         Have a plan of action that outlines what has to be done to get it all started – what do we have to do tomorrow when we come to work?


It can be concluded that ability of an organization to change has become a basic competency of an organization to survive in the increasingly competitive environment. It can further be stated that effective change management within a limited time frame can be one of the sources of competitive advantage for the companies in the long run.




Chorn, N. (2004), “Strategic Alignment”, Richmond


Handy, C. (1994), “The Age of Paradox”, Harvard Press, Boston, 1994


Heather Höpfl (1994), “The Paradoxical Gravity of Planned Organizational Change”  Journal of Organizational Change Management; Volume: 7   Issue: 5; 1994 Conceptual Paper


Laurie A. Fitzgerald, Frans M. van Eijnatten, (2002), “Chaos in organizational change”, Journal of Organizational Change Management; Volume: 15   Issue: 4; 2002 Conceptual Paper


Papers For You (2006) "P/M/672. Organisational change from theoretical perspective", Available from [22/06/2006]


Papers For You (2006) "P/M/665. Theories of chaos and complexity in the context of organizational change", Available from [21/06/2006]

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