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Organizational Change As A Process

Nobody likes change. Not really. We grow accustomed to a certain way of doing things and change can be uncomfortable. Sometimes however, staying the same renders us both stagnant and impotent. Change may be necessary to be effective. Change can be difficult, often attracts resistance, and is time consuming. Change in terms of organizational development must be seen as a process and not an event. What good does it do for the leader to yell charge and rush to the top of the hill only to find he arrived there alone? A more progressive approach to change is the better part of wisdom. This takes adequate planning and this is how we, as leaders, can become change agents. French and Bell speak of organizational development in terms of organizational improvement through action research. Leadership is confronted with circumstances that make the necessity of change obvious. A change agent becomes essential for the following reason: external pressure, competition, new technology, cost, and failing systems. Furthermore, economic and social conditions as well as cultural flux can escalate the necessity of long-term change. The first step is arguably the most important and where the leader can be most effective; this is the planning stage. Proper planning can reduce the resistance that change sometimes encounters. Proper planning would involve in depth investigation in order to develop a preliminary diagnoses as well as a data gathering effort designed to ensure clear and precise status reports that can be used to develop an action plan. In the language of systems theory, this is the input phase, in which the member system becomes aware of problems as yet unidentified, realizes it may need outside help to effect changes, and participates with the leader in the process of problem diagnosis and affective change.


French, Wendell L. & Bell, Cecil (1973). Organization development: behavioral science interventions for organization improvement. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall

Johnson Richard A. (1976). Management, systems, and society : an introduction. Pacific Palisades, Calif.: Goodyear Pub. Co