Organizational Change Management

“Change is never painful. Only the resistance to change is painful,” said Gautama Buddha once, but the words are still relevant today.

Organizational change management is an intrinsic part of corporate life. It is so common that when executives encounter resistance to change, they often explain it away as an occupational hazard.

Resistance to organizational change, organized or individual, can take several forms. Criticism, failed commitments, endless arguments or at times even sabotage can all undermine the importance of organizational change.

Changes must continually occur in any industry, and one cannot ever underestimate the importance of organizational change.

Organizational change examples may not always include substantial strategic changes such as takeovers or buy-outs.

They can even be small ones such as an organizational change in work processes, a shift in premises, in a change in seating arrangements and personnel assignments or job responsibilities.

Organizational change management deals with minimizing resistance, if any, to such changes.

The Need For Organisational Change Management

There is always the possibility of resistance to organizational change. If left unaddressed, employee resistance to organizational change can snowball into a crisis and affect business efficiencies. It is, therefore, essential to understanding some of the common reasons why employees can resist change.

  • The convenience of tried and tested practices is a big hurdle in implementing organizational change. Making people learn or adhere to something new requires thoughtful organizational change management.

  • Organizational change examples could be changes in reporting structures, a shift to a new process or transfers to new locations. These changes can affect employees’ comfort zones or diminish their power and influence.

  • When employees are not privy to the importance and benefits of organizational change, they can be resistant. They may also resist change when they don’t understand what is organizational change and why it’s important.

  • Resistance to organizational change can also arise if employees feel the changes have been haphazardly implemented, or the results of the change are not visible.

Good Organisational Change Management

Since change is inevitable, it is crucial to help employees overcome resistance to organizational change. There are several ways to lower the anxiety of employees and ease the transformation process.

  • Excellent organizational change management involves getting the people involved to “participate” in making the change by ensuring that the need for change emanates from the employees themselves.

  • It also involves making efforts to understand the true nature of resistance. Often, employees do not resist technical change as much as the changes in their human relationships that generally accompany organizational changes.

  • Developing a culture of trust, transparency, employee involvement, and engagement, and positive interpersonal relationships can highlight the importance of organizational change and its acceptance. It can also make it easy to spot any resistance.

  • It helps to be completely open about what is organizational change and why a change is necessary instead of withholding information. Taking employee feedback into account can help improve the chances of success of the organizational change.

  • Shifting attention away from the facts of schedules, technical details, work assignments, and so forth, and instead focusing on what the changes involve and the importance of organizational change can also make a difference. Showcasing great organizational change examples can also be helpful.

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Canada, which decided to implement Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), a paperless transaction system, for its patients in 2014 is an excellent organizational change example. The hospital achieved its goal in record time because it took great care when making the change. Here’s what it did:

  • The team responsible for the project had a detailed, realistic plan in place to carry out the switch.

  • There was a team whose job was to educate and support healthcare professionals to help them learn how to use EMRs.

  • End users could attend practice sessions to learn how to use EMRs.

  • The team continued to train healthcare practitioners after the EMRs went live, so end users felt confident about using the new software and fully appreciated the importance of organizational change.

In Conclusion

Any organizational change management program must have a thorough understanding of the potential conflict areas and a plan to address everyone’s needs in the business. It must protect the aspirations of employees and those affected by the change.

Harappa Education’s Embracing Change course offers powerful frameworks to help increase your ability to take risks and manage failure and seek new opportunities even after facing setbacks. The course has a section titled Failure Checklist that familiarizes you with the process of learning from failures. Taking the time to organize your thoughts after a failure and to be willing to learn and grow is after all the hallmark of true leadership.


Explore topics such as What is Mentoring, Change Management Strategies, Iceberg Model, Importance of Planning, Taking Ownership at Work from our Harappa Diaries section, and lead on a path of self-development.

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