4 Types of Organizational Change

Updated March 23, 2017

Many organisations must change and evolve to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with technological advances. Most companies implement these types of changes to meet profitability goals. While many external factors impact organizational change, planned and unplanned internal organizational changes are also a major part of the process. There are four main types of organizational changes that could affect your company or your role within it.

Structural Changes

The majority of organizational changes can be considered structural changes, according to CliffsNotes. These types of changes typically impact how a company is run, from the traditional top-down hierarchy. Some examples of these types of changes include the implementation of a new, company-wide computer system or a company-wide non-smoking policy. Other structural changes include any changes to the company's hierarchy of authority and company-wide administrative procedures. Structural changes can also be considered transformational changes.

Strategic Changes

When a company must drastically adapt to external factors, it may undergo a major strategic change. Strategic organizational changes are usually quite transformative, as they typically include major adjustments or complete upheavals of the current way the company operates. For example, when a company changes its fundamental approach of doing business, such as changing from an in-person retail environment to a heavy web presence, it is considered a strategic change. Other strategic changes include changing the target market, level of global activity and long-time partnerships.

People Changes

People changes can be large-scale or incremental. Large-scale people changes include replacing the top executives with new employees in order to change the entire company culture. Smaller-scale or incremental people changes may include sending management personnel to team-building workshops and classes. People changes may be planned or unplanned, and they can impact the overall employee attitudes, behaviours and performances, according to Free Management Library.

Process Changes

Process changes are usually an attempt to improve overall workflow efficiency and productivity. They may include implementing technology changes, such as robotics in manufacturing, or requiring sales teams to begin documenting and reporting activities in a new way. Another example of this type of change is when a grocery store chain implements self-scanning checkout counters to improve customer processing times. Companies that implement these types of changes are more successful when the new process is proposed to employee focus groups, is carefully thought out, is tested in beta groups and is rolled out in stages or phases.

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About the Author

Denise Brandenberg has more than 15 years professional experience as a marketing copywriter, with a focus in public relations. She also worked as a recruiter for many years and is a certified resume writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.