Organizational Change: The Different Types and Their Impact

Organizational Change: The Different Types and Their Impact

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Organizational change can be defined as a process in which an organization alters its structures, processes, personnel, technologies, and/or culture to accommodate a desired new state. Organizations must frequently address changes in order to remain competitive, no matter the size or industry. However, organizations often struggle with the process of managing change both internally and externally.

Organizational change is typically divided into four distinct categories: structural change, technological change, cultural change, and process change. Each of these categories has different types of changes associated with them, and each requires a unique approach to successful execution. Understanding how each type of organizational change works is important for formulating an effective change-management plan.

Structural Change

Structural change focuses on redefining the organization’s hierarchy and responsibilities to better suit the needs of the organization in the present and future. This type of change can affect the whole organization or a particular department.

For example, a company might restructure its operations to better meet customer demands. This can manifest in different ways, such as downsizing or reallocating resources to different areas, or cutting out certain operations that are no longer profitable.

Technological Change

Technological change affects an organization’s use of technology. With the rapid advances in technology, organizations must stay abreast of these developments in order to remain competitive. This type of change can help organizations streamline their processes, facilitate better collaboration between different departments, and even save money on operational costs.

As an example, a company might introduce new software into their daily operations. Doing so can enhance their workflow, automate certain tasks, and help them become more efficient.

Cultural Change

Cultural change handles an organization’s internal changes in belief systems and attitudes. This type of change encourages employees to adopt new practices and behaviors that foster collaboration and innovation in the workplace. An organization usually revises its mission statement and core values in order to accomplish this.

For example, a company might want to establish an open-door policy for its employees, which gives them a direct line to executives and encourages a more collaborative workplace.

Process Change

Process change covers an organization’s workflow, procedures, and protocols. It basically looks at how an organization goes from point A to B when delivering a service or product. This type of change revolves around streamlining operations and making them more efficient.

An example of process change is when an organization adopts more rigorous quality control measures. Doing so allows the company to produce and deliver a better-quality product or service.

Case Study 1 – Structural Change

A large technology company was looking to expand into a new market. To do so, they needed to restructure their operations to better suit the new market. They implemented a number of changes, including downsizing certain departments, reallocating resources to other areas, and reorganizing personnel. This structural change enabled the company to effectively enter the new market.

Case Study 2 – Cultural Change

A construction company was looking to foster a more collaborative and innovative workplace. To do so, they established a new mission statement and core values that encouraged employees to think outside the box, solicit feedback from each other, and work together to reach their goals. This allowed the company to not only increase the productivity of their employees but also foster a more pleasant work environment.


Organizational change is a necessary part of any organization’s growth. There are four distinct types of organizational change, each with its own unique approaches and needs. Understanding these types and their implementation can go a long way in creating an effective change-management plan. With the right plan, an organization can ensure that they are able to competently and efficiently manage change in their organization.

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