Module MO030

Organizational Change


Module authors

Adrianus van den Oord

Tilburg University
The Netherlands



Karen Elliott

Durham University Business School

Learning objectives

After you have completed this module, you will be able to:

  • Define organizations and organizational changes linked to project/change management and its importance in ensuring project success.
  • Discuss the four logical levels of organizational change and the reasons why change is necessary.
  • Describe the nature of the four ideal type theories and the relationships between them.
  • Identify different leadership styles and the appropriate context suitable to each.
  • Evaluate the use and limitations of theories and approaches in the context of change for modern organizations—planning, resistance to change, and change fatigue.
  • Recognize the different types of organizational change, and select appropriate remedial action where necessary.
  • Critically appreciate the requirements for managing and contributing to projects efficiently and effectively within the change environment.
  • Understand the complexity involved in managing project/change teams at the individual, team, and organizational level throughout the change process.
  • Develop critical thinking skills and judgment and be able to synthesize diverse perspectives including punctuated equilibrium theory (PET).
  • Interpret and use appropriate data to evaluate evidence on which project and/or business decisions are based.

Chapter 1: The theory of organizational change
1.1 Teleological change
1.2 Dialectic
1.3 Life-cycle theory
1.4 Evolution
1.5 Two dimensions
1.6 Punctuated equilibrium theory
1.7 The process of organizational change
1.7.1 Misalignment
1.7.2 Tight versus loose coupling

Chapter 2: The management of organizational change
2.1 The logical levels of organizational change
2.2 The motivation of organizational change
2.2.1 Types of organizational change
2.2.2 Organizational life cycle
2.3 The context of organizational change
2.4 The content of organizational change
2.5 The process of organizational change
2.5.1 The leadership of organizational change
2.5.2 The planning of change
2.5.3 Handling resistance to change

Chapter 3: Conclusion

Workload units 3
Reading extract Organizational Change


Why Open School of Management believes that competences in change management are important

Organizational change is first and foremost an altering of an organization's culture. All members of an organization from top to bottom must be 'onboard'. This change may come in the form of changes in the organization's process by way of its structure, operational methods, strategies or technologies. It is a multi-faceted concept that involves various disciplines including economics, psychology, political science, sociology, and management. This change can be carried out in a short time, as in changing a simple process, or it can be in the form of continuous improvement. The term organizational change can also refer to the effects of these changes on an organization.

Changes in any organization is very important, but organizational changes in media and journalism are transforming the entire approach to this industry. The availability of information in today's world is very different from even a few years ago. In the past, gathering information was time-consuming. It involved numerous phone calls, spending hours in the library pouring over books or seeking information via personal interviews with numerous individuals. In some cases this still applies, but today hunting and gathering is most likely to involved deciphering data obtained on the internet.

This new process involves a growing set of tools and techniques. It also encompasses how this information is woven into a journalistic article or any information-providing media. It differs from ‘traditional research' by using a different process to deliver this information. It may involve using the most cutting edge data visualization and news applications.

This type of organizational change is the future. Journalists today must be very comfortable with the internet and the data it contains. Going through this wealth of information is a challenge to anyone. These individuals must have the tools to analyze it and pick out what's relevant and interesting.

The Meaning of Organizational Change

Organizational change is at the forefront of adapting to our changing world. In this module you will be introduced and learn what organizational change means and how this concept can be used to your advantage by providing you with the tools and skills needed to be successful in making the change to a different process of collecting data.

Relation with Project Management

In this module, you will learn to define how project management is closely tied to organizational change and why. Both concepts go hand-in-hand in dealing with any type of change, especially information gathering. The most successful change efforts, whether they involve include a conscious effort to understand the relationship between these two key disciplines.

Levels of Organizational Change

We will also discuss the logical levels of organizational change. Logical levels refer to a hierarchy of levels of processes within an individual or group. Each level has a direct impact on the level below it. Therefore, changing something on an upper level would have an effect on a lower level. You will also learn why a change lower in the process may or may not have an effect on a higher level. Through this module, you will learn the interaction between these levels.

The Four Ideal Theories

This module will also teach you the nature of the four ideal type theories. All of which form a starting point for our thoughts about change. This is a concept out of sociology. It can be translated to organizational change in this technology-laden society in the form of a construct that serves as a measuring rod to figure out capabilities that are similar. It can also show deviations in any change in concept, design or process. This module will also clarify the relationship between each type.


Leadership will be extensively covered in this module. The development and evolution in leadership styles during the past several years has shifted from an analytical approach to a systems approach. This change in leadership styles has significantly caused the characteristics of leadership to evolve in this changing world. Through this study you will find out the appropriate context that is suitable for each style.

Theories of Organizational Change

In addition, you will evaluate the use and limitations of theories in organizational change. Some of the areas covered are approaches to planning, what to do with resistance to change, and an explanation of change fatigue. Understanding these concepts will help make any organizational change a much less difficult experience and can be very important in the changing media world!

Types of Organizational Change

You will also be exposed to the different types of organizational change. There are different types for different situation. The right approach can make all the difference in an environment of changing technology. The module will help you in choosing the appropriate style by which to make an alteration to your organization. This module will help you decide. This is also essential in terms of timeliness and ultimate success.

Requirements for Managing Change

The module will also give you an appreciation of the requirements of managing any project efficiently. Doing this in the framework of the transitional environment is very important. The success of any organizational change relies heavily on meeting the requirements needed in the contribution to the main focus of that change.


The complexity and importance of managing project teams will be discussed. There are different tactics that are successful at different stages of a project. These teams must be managed at an individual level, a team level, and at the organizational level. Each has its own idiosyncrasies and approaches needed to elicit the appropriate activity. This module will give you that skill.

Critical Change Thinking

This module on organizational thinking will help to develop critical thinking skills and the judgment needed to be able to make and possess diverse perspectives. This is monumental in today's biased culture and spin control. The success of any change relies on this. The module will also include a discussion on the punctuated equilibrium theory (PET).

Data Interpretation

Finally the module will teach you to interpret and use appropriate data to evaluate evidence on which project and/or business decisions are made. By doing all or atleast the majority of your rearch online, causes this skill to become very important.

This module on organizational change will provide you with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to navigate and manage any and all changes in your organization or group. By using the knowledge and skill taught to you in this module, a successful transition of your organization to one using today's changing technology can be attainable and successful.


Return to Organization Management (MO modules).