When in an organization, managers decide that change is needed, one of the first issues they face is: What to change? In most cases, organizational changes occur when managers realize that they have no choice but to make changes. While not exhaustive, a reasonably comprehensive set of areas to consider include, technology, shared values and culture, strategy, structure, system, and staff. Any change will almost certainly involve at least one of these areas of focus, and the larger the change the more likely several areas will be involved. Particularly complex and comprehensive changes or transformational changes involve six steps including structure, systems, technology, staff and shared value.
Changes in various external forces such as strategy of another company mean that managers must alter their organizations’ strategy. For example, if your rivals introduce a popular new product to the market, you may have no choice but to change your organizations strategy in response.
One of the most valuable tools managers require to create other desired changes is to change the structural makeup of organizations. Many structural changes like reorganizing the firm on a product rather than a geographic basis or consolidating a company’s major divisions can affect how different units interact and how information flows in the organization.
Changes in the firm’s system of formal processes or procedures are another major objects of change that can be used by managers during the process of change. These changes involve the sequence and manner in which work activities are carried out. For example, Intel has changed its procedure for opening new plants. Its new procedure is to exactly duplicate each and every one—even, for example, down to the color of the gloves workers wear, including one of its newest plants in Dalian, China.
For many organizations—from small and medium sized companies to the largest multinational—the most obvious and most frequent object of change is technology. This has always been the case in manufacturing and capital-intensive companies, where replacing and upgrading equipment and technology have been the keys to organizational survival and an ability to keep ahead of the competition.
Shared Values and Culture
The shared values and culture of the organization are another major focus for change. Changing an organizations culture can be as potent as making major changes in the firm’s strategy or technology. Despite its potential, however, changing an organizations embedded traditions and accepted ways of doing things can be extremely difficult.
Finally, people including both individuals and groups can be the focus of major changes. Essentially, changes that focus on people involve one or more of the following four elements: What their attitudes and expectations are? Who the people are? How they interact interpersonally? How they are trained or developed?