Understanding the Types of Organizational Change
Sean McGauley

By: Sean McGauley on November 19th, 2020

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Understanding the Types of Organizational Change

Change Management

Change is hard, but not impossible. Understanding how change works, considering how people will react to change, and planning a thoughtful roll-out are all ways to ease the burden of change. It’s a practice called Change Management, and for organizational change, it can be your key to success.

It’s also important to recognize that not every change situation can be managed in the same way. An important first step in enacting change is to understand which type of change your change management project falls under.

In organizations, change can be grouped into two broad categories – transformational and transitional.

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As an information professional, you may have been a part of one or both kinds of change. Let’s take a look at both categories of organizational change to gain a better understanding.

What is Transformational  Change?

We’re not talking about small change with this category. This is perhaps the tougher of the two types of change – however, the toughest fruit to pick is always the sweetest. These types of change projects are taken on to transform the organization. There are many Intelligent Information Management (IIM) and Digital Transformation projects that fall under this category.

Real change requires a real plan. Take time to identify what the ultimate goal is and then design a plan to achieve it. Preparation and ongoing change management are essential for implementing these large-scale types of organizational change.

Examples of Transformational Change in IIM:

  • Implementing a new software solution
  • Going from no documented process to fully automated
  • Moving from a systems development model that uses waterfall to one that is more agile

What isTransitional Change?

The second form of organizational change deals with transition. With this type of change, something that already exists is changed or replaced. The replacement is regarded by those involved as new; and therefore, individuals have to emotionally let go of the old way of operating.

Planning plays a crucial role in transition. Change Management takes into consideration the need to plan a transition from old to new and takes into consideration the period of dismantling the old state while the new state is being put into place.

This type of change works well with traditional Change Management tools since the end state can be visualized.

Examples of Transitional Change in IIM:

  • Software Migration Projects
  • Moving from wet ink to digital signature

Change Needs a Plan

Don’t plan on successful change without proper planning. As an information professional, most of the change you encounter will fall under these two broad categories. Planning ensures the proper shifts in mind and culture to allow for change to happen. Change often fails when people are faced with radically different systems, processes, or technology without first being prepared. Take time to learn about the best practices in Change Management.

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