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Organisational Development (OD) is a process in which an organization optimizes

performance as it works toward becoming its ideal state. It applies to changes in the
strategy, structure, and/or processes of an entire system, such as an organization, a
single plant of a multi-plant firm, a department or work group, or individual role or job.
As the world becomes more complex and increasingly interrelated, changes seemingly
far away affect us. Thus, change may sometimes appear to occur frequently and
randomly. For this study, Literature review has being the major focus as references are
constantly being made to pervious works. The different types of resistance to change from
the individual and organization’s perspective have adequately extensively discussed.
Thereafter, the concept of organisation changer and development were explained and
related to. To further explain how organisational change can be effective, great emphasis
Lewin’s model of organisational change is being discussed.

1. Introduction

The basic tension that underlies many discussions of organizational change is that it
would not be necessary if people had done their jobs right in the first place. Planned
change is usually triggered by the failure of people to create continuously adaptive
organizations (Dunphy 1996).

Organizational change is an important issue in organizations. It is actually a process in

which an organization optimizes performance as it works toward its ideal state.
Organizational change occurs as a reaction to an ever-changing environment, a
response to a current emergency situation, or is triggered by a leader.

Organizational change is especially evident when the organization has just undergone a
transfer of executive power (Haveman, Russo & Meyer, 2001).

1.1. Objectives Of The Study

Organisational change and development go hand in hand; an organisational

development would in essence lead to change in the organisation. This study intends to
use literature review to explain the terms; Organisational change and development and
discuss how both can be achieved in an organisation.

2. Discussing Organisational Change

Organizational change may also be defined as “a state of transition between the current
state and a future one, towards which the organization is directed.

Van de Ven and Poole (1995) proposed that the causes of organization change can be
explained by one of the following theories: teleological theory, life-cycle theory, and
dialectical theory. The teleological perspective believes that organizational change is an
attempt to achieve an ideal state through a continuous process of goal-setting, execution,

evaluation, and restructuring. Life-cycle theory claims that the organization is an entity
that depending on the external environment, cycles through stages of birth, growth,
maturation, and declination. Dialectical theory postulates that the organization is like a
multi-cultural society with opposing values. When one particular force dominates over
others, a new organizational value and goal is established, resulting in organizational
Organisational change becomes an interaction between ideas about the context, the
process and the content of a change; the analyses that disregard this fact and see any
organizational change as an individual fact, are in fact lacking an analysis of the form,
the meaning and the substance of change. Such a lack results in the fact that the area
covered by the analyses of change becomes extremely narrow, and it distances itself from
the dynamic and complete analysis that should be applied to change ideally speaking

2.1. Resistance to Change

With every major and minor change, resistance typically occurs. This resistance should be
accepted as a “given,” so that management can predict and plan for effectively dealing
with inevitable resistance. This section will address some of the causes and types of
resistance to change, particularly at the organizational level.

2.2. Individual Resistance To Change

The primary reason for resistance is that people fear change. They are not usually eager
to forego the familiar, safe, routine ways of conducting their business in favor of
unknown and possibly unsafe territory. As humans, we tend to prefer routines and
accumulate habits easily; however, fear of change may be attributed to more than a
tendency toward regularity.

Change represents the unknown. It could mean the possibility of failure, the relinquishing
or diminishing of one’s span of control and authority, or the possibility of success
creating further change. It might be that the planned change has little or no effect on the

organization whatsoever. Any one of these possibilities can cause doubt and thus fear,
understandably causing resistance to the change efforts.

Additionally, the transition between the present state and the changed state is difficult for
both individuals and organizations. The first step toward change is going through the
process of ending. Endings must be accepted and managed before individuals can fully
embrace the change.

William Bridges (1980) was able to discuss the process of individual change in his book
Transitions (1980). In describing the process of ending, Bridges presents the following
four stages that individuals must pass through in order to move into the transition state
and effectively change:

2.2.1. Disengagement. The individual must make a break with the “old" and with
his or her current definition of self.

2.2.2. Disidentification. After making this break, individuals should loosen their
sense of self, so that they recognize that they aren’t who they were before.

2.2.3. Disenchantment. In this stage, individuals further clear away the “old,”
challenging assumptions and creating a deeper sense of reality for
themselves. They perceive that the old way or old state was just a temporary
condition, not an immutable fact of life.

2.2.4. Disorientation. In this final state, individuals feel lost and confused. It’s not
a comfortable state, but a necessary one so that they can then move into
the transition state and to a new beginning.

2.3. Organizational Resistance To Change

Resistance to change is not peculiar to individuals. It should be apparent that this

occurrence transpires at the organizational level as well. Organizations, regardless of
size, are composed of individuals. The extent to which individuals within the organization
can appropriately manage change represents the overall organizational capacity for

However, there are other factors peculiar to the organizational setting that can act as
barriers to implementing change. These include:

2.3.1. Inertia. One of the most powerful forces that can affect individuals and
organizations is inertia. The day-to-day demands of work diminish the
urgency of implementing the change effort until it slowly vanishes within the

2.3.2. Lack of Clear Communication. If information concerning the change is not

communicated clearly throughout the organization, individuals will have
differing perceptions and expectations of the change.

2.3.3. Low-Risk Environment. In an organization that does not promote change

and tends to punish mistakes, individuals develop a resistance to change,
preferring instead to continue in safe, low risk behaviors.

2.3.4. Lack of Sufficient Resources. If the organization does not have sufficient
time, staff, funds, or other resources to fully implement the change, the
change efforts will be sabotaged.

2.4. Lewin’s Change Model

One of the earliest models of planned change was provided by Kurt Lewin (1951). He
conceived of change as modification of those forces keeping a system’s behavior stable.
Specifically, a particular set of behaviors at any moment in time is the result of two
groups of forces: those striving to maintain the status quo and those pushing for change.
When both sets of forces are about equal, current behaviors are maintained in what
Lewin termed a state of “quasi-stationary equilibrium.” To change that state, one can
increase those forces pushing for change, decrease those forces maintaining the current
state, or apply some combination of both. This level can be increased either by changing
the group norms to support higher levels of performance or by increasing supervisor
pressures to produce at higher levels. Lewin suggested that decreasing those forces
maintaining the status quo produces less tension and resistance than increasing forces
for change and consequently is a more effective change strategy. Lewin viewed this
change process as consisting of the following three steps:

2.4.1. Unfreezing
This step usually involves reducing those forces maintaining the organization’s behavior
at its present level. Unfreezing is sometimes accomplished through a process of
“psychological disconfirmation.” By introducing information that shows discrepancies
between behaviors desired by organization members and those behaviors currently
exhibited, members can be motivated to engage in change activities.

2.4.2. Moving
This step shifts the behavior of the organization, department, or individual to a new level.
It involves intervening in the system to develop new behaviors, values, and attitudes
through changes in organizational structures and processes. Change proper. It is about
modifying the organization’s behavior, about reaching another level of this plan. This
step refers to the development of new behaviors, values and attitudes through the change
of organizational structures and processes.

2.4.3. Refreezing
This step stabilizes the organization at a new state of equilibrium. It is frequently
accomplished through the use of supporting mechanisms that reinforce the new
organizational state, such as organizational culture, rewards, and structures.

Lewin’s model provides a general framework for understanding organizational change.

Because the three steps of change are relatively broad, considerable effort has gone into
elaborating them.
3. Discussing Organisational Development

Organizational development is a relatively new area of interest for business and the
professions. Organization development (OD) applies to an extensive range of behavioral
science knowledge and practices to help organizations build their ability to change and
to achieve greater success, including increased financial performance, customer
satisfaction, and organization member commitment. Organization development differs
from other planned change efforts, such as project management or innovation, because
the focus is on building the organization’s ability to assess its current functioning and to
achieve its goals.

While the professional development of individuals has been accepted and fostered by a
number of organizations for some time, there is still ambiguity surrounding the term
organizational development.

The basic concept of both professional development and organizational development is

the same, however, with an essential difference in focus. Professional development
attempts to improve an individual’s effectiveness in practice, while organizational
development focuses on ways to improve an organization’s overall productivity, human
fulfillment, and responsiveness to the environment (Cummings & Huse, 1988).

Organizational development can, occur in groups or teams, as well as within an entire
organization. Effective OD is continuing and methodical, strengthening both the
individual and the group. Many organizations today accomplish their tasks through a
project management tactic that brings together teams for a short period of time (Wendell
French: 1969). Members of the team may be brought from functional areas of the
organization. These teams do not always have a unified focus or vision of the task to be
accomplished; therefore, they can falter in their responsibilities because of conflicting
perspectives, communication difficulties, or lack of clear objectives. An ongoing system of
organizational development strategies is useful in this situation.

3.1. Definitions Organization Development

Reference to scholars in the field of management (Organisational Development) would

be the bases for defining the term organization development, where emphasis would be
on three (3) definitions as stated below:

Organization development is a planned process of change in an organization’s culture

through the utilization of behavioral science technology, research, and theory (Warner
Burke: 1982).

Organization development refers to a long-range effort to improve an organization’s

problem-solving capabilities and its ability to cope with changes in its external
environment with the help of external or internal behavioral-scientist consultants, or
change agents, as they are sometimes called (Wendell French: 1969).

Organization development is an effort planned, organization-wide, and managed from

the top, to increase organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions
in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioral science knowledge (Richard
Beckhard: 1985).

4. Why Organizational change fail
According to Mckinsey investigation (Isern & Pung, 2007), only 38% interviewees think
their company’s organization change has successfully increased their work performance,
and only 30% believe their organization change has achieved the organization’s goal of
long-term health. It is mainly because there are many factors that will affect the success
or failure of organizational change.

The higher the preparation for change, the higher the acceptance and executive power of
the member shall be. The lower the preparation, the higher the resistance to change, and
the higher the probability of organization change to fail will be.

A common reason for organizational change to fail is that many organizations do

not take the systematic viewpoint to make a holistic plan for organizational change. For
example, the attempt to make change through education only, and to overlook other
factors that may affect employee’s behavior such as organizational system, structure,
culture, etc. Moreover, some organization applies the identical changes plans to all
departments and individuals without considering their differences.

The fast solution expectation is another error organization makes. They often
assume introducing a set of organizational changes can solve all the problems, and
recruiting an outside consultant can assist on everything. With this expectation, the
organization will depend on the consultant too much, and invest too little, and will end
the change plan too early if the achievement does not meet their expectation.

The match between change plan and organizational context may also play a
significant role in the success or failure of organizational change. Organizational change
is to establish new pattern of thinking and behavior. When the new pattern conflicts with
the old ones, the oversized resistance tends to cause the plan to fail. Therefore, in
designing a change plan, the organizational context must be incorporated.

5. Conclusion and Summary

Change is constant and inevitable. Thus, understanding change is however vital to the
success of any organization. Organizations which can cope with change and harness its
energy will be vital and effective.

Organizational development can, of course, occur in groups or teams, as well as within

an entire organization. Organisational change will not occur just because “it’s a good
idea.” It will only occur when the discomfort of an organization is sufficiently high to
justify the difficulties of assimilating change. Organizations and work teams must be
effective and efficient, particularly in the current environment of limited resources.

It is often advisable for organizational development professionals to contribute in the

carrying out of change efforts. For many organizations, this consultation is not always an
option due to inadequate resources, the unavailability of consultants, among others.


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