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Five Steps for Effective Change Process

Organizational change involves moving from the known to the unknown. Because the future is uncertain and may adversely affect people's competencies, worth, and coping abilities, organization members generally do not support change unless compelling reasons convince them to do so. This requires attention to two related tasks: creating readiness for change and overcoming resistance to change.

Creating Readiness for Change
One of the more fundamental axioms of OD is that people's readiness for change depends on creating a felt need for change. This involves making people so dissatisfied with the status quo that they are motivated to try new work processes, technologies, or ways of behaving. The following three methods can help generate sufficient dissatisfaction to produce change:

1. Sensitize organizations to pressures for change.
2. Reveal discrepancies between current and desired states.
3. Convey credible positive expectations for the change.

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Overcoming Resistance to Change
At the organization level, resistance to change can come from three sources. Technical resistance comes from the habit of following common procedures and the consideration of sunk costs invested in the status quo. Political resistance can arise when organizational changes threaten powerful stakeholders, such as top executive or staff personnel, or call into question the past decisions of leaders. Finally, culture resistance takes the form of systems and procedures that reinforce the status quo, promoting conformity to existing values, norms, and assumptions about how things should operate.


The second activity in leading and managing change involves creating a vision of what members want the organization to look like or become. Generally, a vision describes the core values and purpose that guide the organization as well as an envisioned future toward which change is directed. It provides a valued direction for designing, implementing, and assessing organizational changes. The vision also can energize commitment to change by providing members with a common goal and a compelling rationale for why change is necessary and worth the effort.

Research by Collins and Porras suggests that compelling visions are composed of two parts: (1) a relatively stable core ideology that describes the organization's core values and purpose, and (2) an envisioned future with bold goals and a vivid description of the desired future state that reflects the specific change under consideration.


Managing the political dynamics of change includes the following activities:
- Assessing Change Agent Power
- Identifying Key Stakeholders
- Influencing Stakeholders


Implementing organizational change involves moving from the existing organizaČtion state to the desired future state. There are three major activities and structure to facilitate organizational transition: activity planning, commitment planning, and change-management structures.

Activity Planning
This involves making a road map for change, citing specific activities and events that must occur if the transition is to be successful. Activity planning should clearly identify, temporally orient, and integrate discrete change tasks and should link these tasks to the organization's change goals and priorities.

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Commitment Planning
This activity involves identifying key people and groups whose commitment is needed for change to occur and formulating a strategy for gaining their support.

Change-Management Structures
Because organizational transitions tend to be ambiguous and to need direction, special structures for managing the change process need to be created. These management structures should include people who have the power to mobilize resources to promote change, the respect of the existing leadership and change advocates, and the interpersonal and political skills to guide the change process.


The following five activities can help to sustain momentum for carrying change through to completion: providing resources for change, building a support system for change agents, developing new competencies and skills, reinforcing new behaviors, and staying the course.

Source of Reference:
Thomas Cummings and Christopher Worley, Organization Development and Change, South-Western Publication. You can obtain this fine book here