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The Force Factors of Change (Part 3)

In the prior three articles we reviewed many of the force factors of change. Here is a summary view of those articles and some process steps to aid you as you deal with change.

Pressures for change (driving forces) are these: social change in society, economic change in society, improved efficiency, competition for money and/or resources, technological advances, government regulations, public pressure, you or your company is prone to risk, cost effectiveness and the need for new products and services.

Pressures against change (resisting forces) are these: perceived threats to power, routine and structure, resource limitations, changes in skills required, preference for tradition, economic or status loss, no support for other ideas, you or your company is averse to risk averse, disruption of “society” and loyalty to old products.

Now we’re going to take some steps to help you deal with change. First, list your organization’s driving and resisting forces. Second, examine each force and assess its strengths (value and consequences of each force). Third, identify the forces and factors over which you have control. Finally, analyze the list and comments to determine how you can begin to implement the change(s). Your analysis will reveal some natural choices for action:

  • Increase strength of driving forces.
  • Develop and add new driving forces.
  • Eliminate or decrease the strength of resisting forces.
  • Determine if any of the resisting forces can be converted to driving forces.

Another thing to consider in dealing with change is, when change occurs, what form does it take? Here are some types of change that can be brought about in an organization.

Indoctrination. A deliberate change resultant from mutual goal setting. The power is unbalanced in favor of the organization

Coercive. A deliberate change made without mutual goal setting. The power rests solely with the organization.

Interactional. A non-deliberate change resultant from mutual goal setting, balanced power but without a deliberate intent.

Mutual. A non-deliberate change which is spontaneous, without deliberate goal setting and can be accidental.

Emulative. A deliberate (non-deliberate on occasion) change by subordinates who identify with, and emulate, superiors or mentors.

Imminent. Innovation or change created and implemented within the system without outside assistance

Contact change (directed). Person(s) outside the system seeks to implement a change planned to achieve goals set by the organization.

Contact change (selected). Members of the organization are exposed to externally originated changes and decide whether or not to adopt/adapt the change based on organizational needs.

Planned. A deliberate change sometimes resultant from equal sharing of power, mutual goal setting and a methodical approach. However, planned changes are sometimes coercive and yet successful.

About the Author

L. Douglas Mault is president of the Executive Advisory Institute, Yakima, Wash. (See his ad on page 40.)

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