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What is Organizational Change Management?

        posted by , May 07, 2013

If you want to make enemies, try to change something.
~ Woodrow Wilson
No change involving more than 5 people is easy. No leader has ever found that big changes happen at command. No matter how well developed your leadership skills — leading big change is a challenge.

Organizational Change Management is the discipline of leading change.

Definition: Organizational Change Management

Organizational Change Management is the practice of managing enterprise changes such as mergers & acquisitions, restructuring, process changes and culture transitions. It's often focused on the people side of change — socializing change to reduce resistance and gain acceptance.


Organizational Change Management is often an executive management or human resources function. The goal is to reduce resistance to change and establish a culture that embraces innovation. For example, developing change leaders and empowering them with authority and support to achieve change.

In many cases Organizational Change Management is focused on strategy communication, creating a sense of urgency, developing leaders, incentives and performance management.


Resistance to Change

People have a tendency to resist change for a variety of logical, emotional and instinctual reasons.

Resistance to change is a primary reason that large organizational changes fail.

Organizational Change Management seeks to reduce resistance to change with persuasion, negotiation and motivation techniques.

This is essentially a process of communication, socialization, incentives and performance management.

more: how organizations resist change


Barriers to Change

Resistance to change isn't the only barrier to organization change — strategic challenges, change complexity and competitive forces also add risk to change.

Change management principles, processes, strategies and tactics are designed to reduce the overall risk that change will fail.

more: 5 barriers to change


Organizational Culture

When it comes to change — not all organizations are created equally. Some organizations are capable of pumping out innovative change at a dizzying pace. Others struggle to change at all.

The difference between organizational change capabilities is often explained in terms of organizational culture.

Organizational culture are the norms, symbols, habits, ethics and common mission of an organization.

Organizational Change Management plays a central role in establishing an organizational culture that's accepting of change and capable of innovation.


Organizational Change Management vs. Change Management

Change management also happens at the project or departmental level.

Project management methodologies include techniques for managing changes to projects. Departments and teams also manage change to processes, knowledge and technologies.

Managing change to a project or department is very different from managing change at the organizational level. Departments might not have much influence over an organization's strategy and culture. They simply want to manage change given the resources at their disposal.

Projects and departments implement change management processes that are designed to control change. This involves accepting, evaluating, approving, prioritizing, implementing and communicating change requests.

Organizational Change Management is people & culture focused. Project and departmental change management is process focused.


Next: Guide To Change Management


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22 Change Management Objectives The primary objective of organizational change management is to execute an effective strategy. That's easier to say than do. The following secondary objectives (goals) are how organizations deliver change.


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