"Change is the only constant, we are told" in the twenty-first century marketplace(Ojala, 1997, p.1). In order for many companies, organizations, or institutions to stay competitive in their fields, they must be prepared for change and the effects of that change. According to a 1994 American Management Association and Deliotte & Touche LLP study "approximately 84% of American companies" are experiencing some type of change (Carson, 1998, p.1). Change management helps companies predict, institute, guide, facilitate, and evaluate change. Change management is "the focus of the change project (or initiative), whether it be to bring about alterations at the individual, group…or organizational level"(Henderson and McAdam, 1998, p.1). The concept behind change and change management is that these changes or "alterations’ refer to proactive business improvements"(Henderson and McAdam, 1998, p.1). Unfortunately, "the underlying assumption that all change is good"(Ojala, 1997, p.1) is incorrect; therefore, companies, organizations, and institutions must understand the "forces that drive change," how their employees will react to change, and the "underlying principles of change, and use them to develop a comprehensive change management framework" that will ensure a successful change project (Hirschfield, 1998, p. 1).
The Forces Of Change
"Organizational change is any alteration of activities in an organization…[that] may be the result of changes in the structure of the organization, transfer of tasks, new product introduction, or changes in attitude of group members or process, or any number of events inside and outside of an organization" (Carson, 1998, p. 1). There are external and internal forces of change for every organization.
The external forces of change can be "technological breakthroughs that either enhance or destroy the competence of firms in an industry" (Carson, 1998, p.) In other words, advancements in technology can either help an organization progress or can leave them lagging behind the competition that has been able to learn and utilize newer technologies to their benefit. "New and innovative technologies, along with process improvements, add value to organizations…[and] introduce change"(Puccinelli, 1998, p.1). Economic factors such as "interest rates and inflation" can wreak havoc on organizations despite their own internal "economic systems" (Carson, 1998, p.1). Organizations must also be aware of "legal-political element[s] that develop under the "legal and governmental systems within which an organization must function"(Carson, 1998, p.1). For instance, many companies must shift their attitudes or change their products as society pressures political systems to change with their new attitudes. The lawsuits against tobacco companies are a perfect example of organizational change forced by litigation and politics. Furthermore, organizations must be prepared to face "socio-cultural...