Organizational Change and Its Causes


Organizational change has become an integral part of the business over the years. Economic crises, increased competition, improved production technologies, and the rapid growth of developing countries require the formation of new qualities for organizations that want to survive in the modern world of business. Change can and should be managed, and, currently, the process of introducing changes in enterprises and companies is becoming a new approach to management. New strategies are used, whole systems are developed for introducing modifications in the organization. By analyzing external trends, role models, and modern requirements, managers plan modifications aimed at increasing the flexibility of the organizations. They also develop their ability to adapt to the needs of the external environment and use the opportunities. Of particular importance are the processes of changes in the entire enterprise functioning system and its organizational structure, including operations, people, and consumers, as well as various models and methods used for their practical implementation.


Under the market management system, a commercial organization, which is a self-organizing socially oriented system, functions in the harsh conditions of a competitive environment and has complete economic independence. In this situation, its activities in the broad sense are aimed at gaining and maintaining a preferred market share, achieving superiority over competitors. Accordingly, the managerial control of a commercial organization is mainly focused on ensuring the main performance indicators in modern conditions: the organization’s stable position in the market among competitors, recognition of the organization by market entities, and the public. Timely adaptation of the organization’s the production and management systems to a permanently changing external environment and market conditions are also critical. In market conditions characterized by high uncertainty and instability of the external environment, effective management of the organization involves a much larger range of plans. There is a much larger amount of planning and, accordingly, monitored work than in a planned economy.

The primary goal of the project is to identify critical factors influencing organizational changes and come up with effective strategies to deal with them. Moreover, due to the strengthening of competitive relations in the global and domestic markets, the rapid development and change of technologies, the growing diversification of business, and the complexity of business projects are present. In addition, the management of a commercial organization is significantly complicated, which causes the complexity of its control systems. Therefore, in modern conditions, internal control in various organizations takes on the character of a foundation present at all levels of government. In a broader sense, in a competitive environment of market relations, effective management control, ceteris paribus, is a guarantee of the organization’s success.

Executive Summary

In short, the given paper will analyze and discuss the underlying causes of organizational change. The primary reason is the fact that corporate individuals realize that the old way, which involves familiar tasks, work, procedures, structures, is no longer acceptable. However, managers always take changes critically because the latter brings the unknown to their life and deprive it of stability. A recent survey of managers of 210 North American companies showed that only a quarter of those rated their experience in implementing changes in their organizations as successful (Smollan & Morrison, 2019). Everyday practice gives many examples of the fact that a person can adapt to almost any situation. However, very often, employees do not understand that changes are important and necessary for the organization to survive in the modern world, and it is difficult for such people to adapt to new conditions. When the changes are imposed, this most often leads to the creation of stressful situations, anxiety, to a feeling of insecurity in the future.

The Main Issues

A manager must be able to feel what needs to be changed and how best to do it. The theme of the given work is especially relevant today when, at such a fast pace of business development, resource as time, its competent use, and work efficiency become strategically important for the continued success of the organization. Change is one of the few elements of reality that is truly permanent in the world. Changes not only surround separate entities but also, most often, become inevitable because everything in the world is interconnected, and an alteration in one object entails a modification in another object.

Another example is natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions. The epicenter, or cause, of these natural disasters is in one place, and the consequences most often spread over vast territories. In the given an example, one can see that it is impossible to act on a part without affecting the whole. What do people see as a result of these influences? The ball is trying to restore its original shape, earthquakes cause lithospheric plate movements, tsunamis hit the shore, a volcano throws lava to the surface ­– these are examples of resistance and adaptation to changes. The whole object is trying to resist change, and strength is equal to the power of counteraction, and just as in physics, one needs to prepare to reduce the resistance. The factors of alterations mentioned above show that change is unavoidable. Therefore, people in business have to possess the ability to be adaptable.


The same processes can be observed in the organization. First, there is a reason or impulse that creates new conditions, then the organization adapts to changes or processes of change (Suddaby & Foster, 2017). The method of resistance follows, and at this time, most often, the organization’s employees recall how good everything was before the changes were introduced — this stage is comparable to when the ball tries to restore its shape. Moreover, the strength of resistance is proportional to the changes that have been carried out in the organization. In the end, adapting to new conditions, company employees agree to changes and suit to innovations. The organizational change model can be represented as a diagram. The sequence is determined by the action of four factors: the impact of internal and external forces that determine the changes, managers’ awareness of the need for changes, the initiation of changes, and the implementation of changes. Sources of change in the organization can be both in the external and in the internal environment.

There major communication barriers in the organization that directly inhibit any positive change. Barriers to communication mean those numerous factors that cause or contribute to conflict. Indeed, communication partners often have different, often opposing desires, aspirations, attitudes, characters, communication methods, and different health conditions. There a number of types of communication barriers, such as personal, cultural, organizational, physical, language, and semantic ones (Watson, Manias, Geddes, Della, & Jones, 2015). Communicative barriers are obstacles and interferences that disrupt the process of transmitting information and reduce its effectiveness. The number of phenomena that have a negative impact on communication is huge. Personal barriers are processes and phenomena caused by the individual characteristics of the sender and recipient of information. The most common barriers of this type are: psychological incompatibility of individuals due to differences in temperament, character, level of education, interests, as well as gender, age, professional and life experience; inability to listen to the interlocutor and/or to oppose him; negative mental state of both or one of the interlocutors. Organizational barriers – situations that reflect the flaws and errors in the management of the company, as well as the negative impact of environmental factors.

Cultural barriers are factors of a wider context that are formed historically and associated with national identity, traditions, and norms of behavior in individual countries and regions; their ignorance or ignoring can complicate communication, and in some cases, lead to the severance of business relations. Physical barriers are obstacles created by people, objects, or phenomena. Language barriers are lexical and grammatical obstacles such as insufficient vocabulary, inadequate speech style, abbreviations and abbreviations, and speech errors (Watson et al., 2015). Semantic barriers are communication disruptions caused by misunderstanding or misunderstanding of the meaning of information due to the use of professional terms, phraseological units, jargon, winged expressions, proverbs, and sayings. Many problems of a lexical and semantic nature can be avoided if guided by the principle adhere to simplicity and brevity. Only a detailed, rich in professional terminology speech can ensure success. Other types of communication barriers are information overloads of personnel, as well as information hiding by officials and unwillingness to inform subordinates.


Implementation of changes is a rather complicated and laborious process. Depending on the initiator of the changes, employees may “resist” against the performance of any new tasks or management who may be skeptical of innovations and refuse to approve them. To overcome this attitude, management needs to try to understand the causes of resistance. Employees may consider that the proposed changes in labor technology or structure will negatively affect their status or salary. Fear of personal loss is one of the most powerful demotivators and enemies of innovation (Smollan & Morrison, 2019). It is much better to have a direction of activity than to move blindly.

Uncertainty arises in the event of a lack of information about future events, fear of the unknown. If an employee is not sure of the positive results of the changes, does not know what benefit he or she will receive as a result of the implementation of innovations, such an employee will not be motivated to accept these changes. Managers can evaluate the situation differently from other employees who can put forward strong arguments against the proposed innovations. Thus, the difference in the goals of the departments of the organization can lead to disagreement in the implementation of the changes (Nery et al., 2019). The manager can pursue certain purposes, and the given changes may interfere with the implementation of the goals and objectives of another department. In addition, the most suitable and plausible solution for the miscommunication in the organization is coordinating three phases of planned change, which are unfrozen, change, and refreeze. The given action can be done by applying the force-filed analysis model, which outlines key forces that restrain and drive the change in the organization (Watson et al., 2015). Therefore, it is critical to be able to understand the primary causes of the lack of positive transformations in a company.


The resistances listed above are one of the most common. In such situations, management should not ignore resistance but attract opponents of change to their side. The most common recommended strategies that are aimed at overcoming resistance are the analysis of the force field and tactics for overcoming resistance by adapting to it. For instance, force field analysis is a concept developed by Kurt Levine (Woodman, 2014). The basis of this concept is the principle of mutual exclusion – that is, collisions of forces that stimulate and limit resistance. The analysis of the field of effects illustrates why changes in the organization do not occur. To make a change, managers need to analyze the ratio of these forces because the elimination of factors that inhibit resistance strengthens the factors that encourage overcoming resistance. Forces that drive change are the manager’s desire to make changes in the company, the market situation, and technology progress (Cameron & McNaughtan, 2014).

The forces that impede change: the narrowly vested interests of employees, misunderstanding, and lack of trust, and differences in assessing the situation. The system is in equilibrium as long as the forces contributing to change and the forces that prevent change balance each other. To bring the system out of balance and make changes, managers must either increase the pressure or weaken the resistance (Smollan & Morrison, 2019). In times of crisis and the need for rapid change, the increased demand can be helpful. For long periods of time, a weakening resistance strategy is preferred.

Trails of Recommendations and Result

Organizational change may affect strategies, technologies, products, management structure, and corporate culture. Most often, changes in one area lead to changes in other structures of the organization. For example, the decision to produce a new product will require a shift in technology, and the use of modern production technology will entail the need for retraining of workers (Woodman, 2014). Technology changes are directly related to the production process. The purpose of technological change is to improve the quality of goods and services produced by this organization. Technological innovations in the organization most often occur in “bottom-up” form (Nery et al., 2019). This means that employees propose changes to existing technologies to produce better products. Such changes are not carried out from top to bottom, as top management is not always familiar with production and, as a rule, does not have experience in technology development.

Changes in products are changes in the goods and services produced by the organization. The appearance of a new product on the market means the introduction of new technologies, customer satisfaction. Ideas of such a plan are also most often implemented “from the bottom up,” the only difference is that a new product requires the attention of several departments of the company. Of course, there are many cases when a new product did not take root in the market, and the company suffered huge losses because of this product. The main reason for the failure is the low efficiency of interaction between departments of the organization (Suddaby & Foster, 2017). To solve this problem, a model of horizontal connections was developed. The core idea is that it combines the efforts of research, marketing, and manufacturing departments to coordinate the creation of a new product.

The next type of change is structural change. These are the changes that relate to the sphere of management, authority, structural characteristics, and management systems of the organization. The top-down approach is used here, as managers possess the necessary skills and experience. Internal factors, for example, employee dissatisfaction with the management system, are the initiators of this type of change (Woodman, 2014). Acceptance of innovations can be carried out through staff training, employee participation in the implementation of changes, negotiations. When the change “descends from above,” lower-level workers have the right and should discuss the planned innovations and participate in their implementation.

Review and Measurements of Results

Changes in culture and people include changes in values, norms, beliefs, and behavior of employees, changes in relationships. They can be combined into one group – worldview changes. These changes are aimed at improving any specific skills of employees, for example, teamwork, leadership, responsibility, social activity (Suddaby & Foster, 2017). Organizational development is the application of the results of studies of behavioral sciences to create a more favorable atmosphere in the team, improve adaptation skills to change, improve interpersonal relationships, and solve topical organizational problems. By thoroughly analyzing the results of trials by monitoring the factors mentioned above, managers will be able to recognize the overall success of the implemented actions.


In conclusion, changes are important and inevitable, and they are present constantly. Sometimes people don’t notice them, and sometimes they become so obvious that they start to panic and resist intensely. However, often when people are involved in a change in their daily lives, either when trying to implement it or as the unfortunate victims of decisions made by other people, they find it very difficult. Change can unsettle them, pose a threat to them, and be frighteningly unpredictable. People resist change, and for managers who are already overloaded with managing current affairs, change can double the workload. Change management is one of the most important aspects of the work of a modern manager.

Managers need to have a lot of knowledge and practice in order to become a specialist in this field. The manager must be able to feel the trends in the development of the world around him or her must be aware of the importance of changes for his or her organization, and be able to draw up a plan in the most thorough manner, taking into account every detail, for effective change management. However, this process is not always so depressing. Ideally, making changes can provide an opportunity for genuinely creative activity, especially if managers take part already at the stage of development of the change and not just implement someone’s ideas. Managers can learn a lot in the process of implementing change.


Cameron, K., & McNaughtan, J. (2014). Positive organizational change. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 50(4), 445-462.

Nery, V. de F., Franco, K. S., & Neiva, E. R. (2019). Attributes of the organizational change and its influence on attitudes toward organizational change and well-being at work: A longitudinal study. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

Smollan, R. K., & Morrison, R. L. (2019). Supporting others through stressful organizational change. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 55(3), 327-351.

Suddaby, R., & Foster, W. M. (2017). History and organizational change. Journal of Management, 43(1), 19-38.

Watson, B. M., Manias, E., Geddes, F., Della, P., & Jones, D. (2015). An analysis of clinical handover miscommunication using a language and social psychology approach. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 34(6), 687-701.

Woodman, R. W. (2014). The science of organizational change and the art of changing organizations. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 50(4), 463-477.

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