3 Organizational Change Management Models That Work

Organizational change management models can be a little mystifying, I think. Organizational change is a little bit of an obtuse thing to approach in any respect, so I get why this can be. When it comes to this subject, it’s something that often warrants audible empathic groans from those who hear it because it’s a pain in the gluteal tissue to undertake.

Let’s start with a definition – organizational change management is a framework for managing the effect of new business processes, changes in organizational structure or cultural changes within an enterprise.

Making major changes in the structure, practices or dynamics of any large organization has all the problems of logistics, training, restructuring and business modeling all rolled into one, with a pinch of sociodynamics for just a little more sourness.

So, when it comes to looking at or devising organizational change management models, it’s going to be a bit overwhelming in how the models work, given all the mess involved.

So, what are some of the models that’re popular, and are known to work? Well, sadly, this is a topic where no models are definitive, at least at this point. Unlike organizational learning, business models and other such dynamics, there are no de facto models to turn to, but there are some basic tenets to how to approach it.

From these basic tenets and some personal experience and case study research, I now present to you three small, scalable change models that I think would work well for most people. I leave it to you, the readers, to try these and find the holes in these models.

1. Small – Our first model is really meant for smaller organizations such as charities, independent businesses and the freelance collective concepts. In this model, we approach it first with an analysis not unlike training needs for small scale organizational learning. We observe all the flaws and strengths of all involved, and from here, we measure up who is best at what but worst at what else.

For this model, it’s a very literal reassigning and restructuring in which everyone is placed where they truly belong. This doesn’t work in huge organizations or enterprise environments, but for small groups with a less formal structure, this is the best model, I’d think. It’s pretty simple, and a modified version of SWOT analysis works well here.

2. Midsize – For our second model, we have a structured business, but not a huge one. In this situation, we’re more about redundancy of chain of command, as well as redundancy of responsibility in our change model. We’re focusing on finding out whose time is being wasted and where there are too many middle men. We don’t want to fire anyone, we don’t want to downsize, but we make sure that nobody is doing a redundant task or filtering through too much intervention to get anything done. We treat this like group restructuring on projects, more or less.

3. Large – Our last model is for big organizations. This model isn’t about a specific focus as much as how you approach change and your willingness to compromise. Firings and downsizings are just not an option in my opinion unless fiscal climates are apocalyptic. As a result, I propose a more organic model where everyone has their concerns and suggestions heard, and the changes and approach to these changes be based on the zeitgeist of the corporate culture at hand.

So, when it comes to these organizational change management models, there’s really not much out there, but I suspect these models, as poorly defined as the last one really is, to be the best place to start.

Yet at basic level, some of the more important and effective strategies for organizational change management include making sure this is a unified, common vision, strong leadership and communication of that vision, a plan on how to implement the change, a way to measure the impact and success/failure of the change,  and rewards and positive reinforcement for those that succeed. For additiona related management information, please read our Knowledge management tools page.

Boaz Amidor
Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to Training Station blog.