Transitional and Transformational Change

848 WordsAug 2, 20104 Pages
Question: Discuss the difference between transitional and transformational change. Change is inevitable in an organization. Change in social systems, in particular the formal organization, may be defined as a planned or unplanned response to pressures and forces from the natural environment and mostly the activities of people. Managers are constantly challenged to respond to threats and opportunities in their organization’s environment. In order to meet these challenges, they must often change, adapt or even completely transform their organizations. To manage these organizational changes, theorists have found it necessary to categorize change. The three types of changes that occur most frequently in organizations are developmental,…show more content…
Both transitional and transformational change can occur in tandem, however differences exist between them. Transitional change replaced what already exist with something new. The organization must dismantle and emotionally let go of the old ways of operating while the new state is being put into place. This transitional phase can be project -managed and effectively supported with traditional change management tools. Examples include, reorganizations, simple mergers or acquisitions, creation of new products and services that replace the old ones, and IT implementations that do not require a magnificent shift in culture or behavior, There are two variables that define transitional change, One, the destination can be determined in detail before the transition, allowing it to be managed. Two, people are largely impacted only at the levels of skills and actions, not the more personal levels of mindset, behavior and culture. Transformational change differs from transitional change for two distinct reasons. First, the future state is unknown when the transformation begins and is determined through visioning and trial- and –error as new information is gathered. This makes it impossible to manage transformation with predetermined, time bound and linear project plans. An overarching change strategy can be created but the actual change process must emerge as you go. This means that executives, managers and front-line workers alike must operate in the unknown.
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