The Different Perspectives on Change, Theories of Change, Process of Change, and Impact of Change
Organization Development (OD) is a field of study that looks at the planned change in organizations (Marquis & Herai, 2007). It is interdisciplinary and draws on various academic disciplines such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and systems thinking. The focus of this paper is on changes and principles of adaptation. This will be done by looking at the different perspectives on change, the theories of change, the process of change, and the impact of change.
2. Changes and Principles of Adaptation
There are different perspectives on change. Some see it as something that is good and brings about adaptation, while others view it as something that is bad and leads to chaos. The former perspective is known as the “evolutionary perspective”, while the latter is known as the “revolutionary perspective” (Woodward, 1999).
The evolutionary perspective sees change as something that is gradual and incremental. It is driven by a need to adapt to the ever-changing environment. This perspective views change as something that is essential for survival. The main proponents of this perspective are Charles Darwin and Karl Marx.
The revolutionary perspective views change as something that is abrupt and drastic. It is driven by a need to overthrow the existing order. This perspective views change as something that is necessary for progress. The main proponents of this perspective are Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong.
Both perspectives have their own merits and demerits. The evolutionary perspective is more realistic and pragmatic, while the revolutionary perspective is more idealistic and utopian. There is no right or wrong perspective on change; it all depends on one’s own worldview and orientation.
3. Theories of Change
There are various theories of change. Each theory has its own set of assumptions about how change occurs. The most popular theories are the Lewinian Theory, the Planned Change Theory, the Chaos Theory, and the Complexity Theory (Woodward, 1999).
The Lewinian Theory was developed by Kurt Lewin in the 1940s. It is also known as the Force Field Analysis Theory. This theory seeschange as a three-stage process: unfreezing, moving, and refreezing. In the unfreezing stage, people become aware of the need to change. In the moving stage, they take action to implement the changes. In the refreezing stage, they consolidate the changes and make them permanent.
The Planned Change Theory was developed by John Kotter in 1970s. It sees change as a eight-stage process: creating a sense of urgency, forming a guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the vision, empowering employees to act on the vision, generating short-term wins, consolidating gains and producing more change, and institutionalizing new approaches (Kotter & Schlesinger, 1979).
The Chaos Theory was developed by James Gleick in 1987. It sees change as a random and unpredictable event that can never be fully understood or controlled. It views organizations as complex systems that are constantly in flux (Gleick, 1987).
The Complexity Theory was developed by Edgar Morin in 1990s. It sees organizations as complex adaptive systems that are constantly evolving in response to their environment (Morin, 1990).
4. The Process of Change
The process of change can be divided into four stages: pre-change, change, post-change, and outcome (Marquis & Herai, 2007).
In the pre-change stage, people become aware of the need to change. They may be spurred by a crisis or a challenge. In this stage, they develop a sense of urgency and start to explore different options.
In the change stage, people take action to implement the changes. They may form a team or task force to plan and execute the changes. In this stage, there is usually resistance from some people who are opposed to the changes.
In the post-change stage, people consolidate the changes and make them permanent. They may review the changes and make adjustments as necessary. In this stage, people start to see the benefits of the changes.
In the outcome stage, people assess the results of the changes. They may examine whether the changes have achieved their intended objectives. In this stage, people may also learn from their experience and apply it to future changes.
5. The Nature of Change
There are three types of change: incremental change, transformational change, and emergency change (Marquis & Herai, 2007).
Incremental change is small and gradual. It is usually brought about by a need to improve efficiency or productivity. Incremental change does not usually involve a major disruption to the status quo.
Transformational change is radical and drastic. It is usually brought about by a need to address a major problem or challenge. Transformational change usually involves a major disruption to the status quo.
Emergency change is sudden and unplanned. It is usually brought about by a crisis or an unforeseen event. Emergency change usually involves a major disruption to the status quo.
6. The Dynamics of Change
There are three dynamics of change: linear change, nonlinear change, and discontinuous change (Marquis & Herai, 2007).
Linear change is gradual and incremental. It is usually brought about by a need to improve efficiency or productivity. Linear change does not usually involve a major disruption to the status quo.
Nonlinear change is sudden and drastic. It is usually brought about by a need to address a major problem or challenge. Nonlinear change usually involves a major disruption to the status quo.
Discontinuous change is abrupt and unplanned. It is usually brought about by a crisis or an unforeseen event. Discontinuous change usually involves a major disruption to the status quo.
7. The Impact of Change
Change can have both positive and negative impacts on organizations (Woodward, 1999).
Positive impacts include increased efficiency and productivity, improved quality of products and services, and enhanced customer satisfaction. Negative impacts include decreased morale and motivation among employees, increased stress and anxiety levels, and resistance to change from employees.
In conclusion, change is a complex phenomenon with many different perspectives. There is no one right or wrong way to view change; it all depends on one’s own worldview and orientation. Change can bring about both positive and negative impacts on organizations. It is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of change before taking any action.