Organizational Change and Development

Organizational Change and Development

Organizational Change and Development

Organizational Change and Development

Excerpt

The gap between designing a new organization on paper and bringing it into reality is the domain of organization change and development. Kurt Lewin, a famous social psychologist, once wrote that a social organism becomes understandable only after one attempts to change it. It often happens therefore that management's awareness for a new organization design emerges only after the start of an intensive change process. And even if it were possible for an omniscient manager to develop a master blueprint before introducing organization change, it is doubtful that other employees would readily accept the new design or have the required skills for making the design work. For these reasons, managers need to be as skillful at handling the question of how to introduce change as they are in diagnosing what needs to be changed. This book of cases and readings focuses on large-scale organization change, not on individual or small group change. The latter are obviously essential building blocks to organization change, but by themselves do not assure that a larger organizational unit will itself be transformed. Attention to additional variables beyond the individual and group is required in any organizational change, including such dimensions as multiple levels of authority, relationships between departments, environmental forces impinging on the organization, the climate of the organization, and the nature of the work flow that moves across departmental boundaries. We shall first discuss some common objectives of organization change, then describe a few basic approaches to change, and finally identify some underlying concepts and issues that pertain to understanding and managing the overall process of organization change. The reader should be cognizant during this discussion that our knowledge about organization change is still in its infant stages; research has only begun to make some promising inroads. At present the collective experience of many organizations and managers remains the best source of knowledge. Several of these experiences are reported in the cases which follow this introductory discussion.
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