Understanding and Facilitating Organizational Change in the 21st Century: Recent Research and Conceptualizations

By Adrianna J. Kezar | Go to book overview

Providing a Common
Language for Understanding
Organizational Change

EVERY FACULTY MEMBER in the school of business is being asked to use new technology in the classroom within the next three years, mirroring a trend for MBA programs across the country. (Example A)

An institution reduces costs suddenly by 20 percent redefines its mission, and serves a different student population. (Example B)

A department will begin faculty post-tenure review, reflecting the department's values change toward embracing assessment. (Example C)

Student affairs staff will redefine multiculturalism. (Example D)

Each of these statements describes a different type of organizational change and requires some examination and analysis before understanding which change model might work best. The purpose of this article is to briefly describe some of the common concepts related to organizational change, using the four examples listed above, that will make it easier to understand the conceptual literature described in articles three and five. The concepts will also help readers better categorize and understand changes on their campuses. The common language developed by reviewing these examples within this article refers to the why, what, and how of change, which comprise many essential elements of the models reviewed in the next article. Certainly, more detailed examples could be described that present institutional type and other contextual issues, but the purpose of the examples is limited to understanding the type of change.

Some readers might be thinking, why not directly obtain the literature on, for example, how student affairs divisions are handling multiculturalism? Such resources can indeed be useful. Members of an organization often

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