Chapter Seventeen: Organisational Development and Transformation

The external forces for change in an organisation include economic conditions, technological developments, competitor's activities, societal and demographic shifts, and legal/political developments. The internal forces include managerial decisions, employee preferences and suggestions. The focus of organisational changes include technology, shared values and culture, strategy, structure, systems and staff.

Evaluating the need for change requires engaging in proactive, rather than reactive or crisis change management. Engaging in change early and when severity is low results in low costs. Reactive change management occurs at a middle-time period with medium severity and medium costs. Crisis change management is late in the piece, when problem severity is high and is expensive. The recognition of the need for change is followed diagnosing problems.

Once change is recognised and diagnosed the change process means planning and preparation, implementing and dealing with resistance and evaluating outcomes. Planning consists of timing, building support, communication and participation by affected parties and provision of incentives. Implementation involves a choice of focus, an amount of change, a frequency of change and a rate of change. Resistance will come from inertia, mistrust, lack of information, lack of capabilities, and anticipated consquences. Dealing with resistance may involve Lewin's "force field analysis" where by the concept of equilibrium is used and the driving forces of change are balances by forces opposing change resulting in a steady-state. Participation, communication, facilitation and coercion will minimise the effects of resistance. The evaluation of change outcomes involves a process of collecting data (quantitative, qualitative, amount, cost, timing) comparison of outcomes against goals and feedback of results (to whom? how?).

Specific approaches t planned change include organisational development and proces redesign. Oganisational development has a strong behavioural and people orientation, emphasising planned, strategic long-range efforts. T-groups are individuals participating in organisational development sessions away form the workplace which developed interpersonal relationships through large organisations. Change agenst are individuals responsible for implementing change efforts; they can be internal or external. Interventions are sets of structured activities or action steps designed to improve organisations. A key distinguishing feature of OD focueses on new forms of behaviour and new relationships. Organisational renewal is established that proposes a goal of flexibility and capability for continual change.

Process redesign is a design of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements. The issues include objectives (reduce costs, shorten cycle times, improve qualities), coverage (breadth and depth) and has potential drawbacks (high level of persistence and involvement of top management, effort may be greater than results, high chaos factor, high levels of resistance).

Organisational learning is an approach to organisational change that focuses on becoming skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge and modifying the organisation's behaviour to reflect new knowledge and insights. This includes, (i) systematic, organised and consistent approaches to problem solving (ii) experimentation to obtain new knowledge (iii) drawing lessons from past experiences (iv) learning from the best practises of others and (v) transferring and sharing knowledge.