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How to facilitate change and transformations II
Changes and transitions
External changes are a fact of life
Changes are a fact of life where both public and private organisations are concerned.
Changing political currents and market booms and recessions necessitate changes. It may be necessary to cut back in certain areas, or perhaps a change in the demands on public services suddenly calls for new or different services.
Changes in market conditions and competition in the private sector can similarly necessitate organisational changes. The competitive power of companies is under pressure from other countries with lower wage levels, and buying patterns change as a consequence of changing trends and consumer behaviour.
These external changes can force organisations to restructure and carry out internal changes. In this way, societal changes can lead to organisational changes, which in turn can lead to changes for the people who work in the organisations.
However, work-related changes need not necessarily be due to major societal changes. They can also originate in local circumstances, such as a management’s formulation of a new strategy, a trade union’s demand for changes in the organisation, or development processes in which management and employees join forces to formulate a company vision.
Changes are a fact of life - just like transitions
Where the individual is concerned, a change could take the form of a promotion, new working hours, a resignation or something similar. It may be changes that we choose ourselves and look forward to or changes imposed on us. If the changes we experience are significant to us, a transition will begin.
A transition is an internal adjustment to an external change
A transition is thus not identical with a change.
A transition is the internal process that a change initiates in us. But not all changes initiate transitions. The changes must be significant to us. We must feel that they have a certain weight in relation to our personal or working lives before they can lead to transitions.
When we are confronted with a significant change, transition is our way of mentally adjusting to what is new. Transitions can thus be compared to learning and development processes. There is rarely a straight path from A to B, but when we get to the other end, we will have developed and learned something new.
We will have acquired new knowledge, new perspectives and a new angle from which we can view ourselves and the world. This is the development that will hopefully enable us to successfully manage the new situation created by the change.
It is perfectly normal for us to experience both hope and uncertainty in a transition process. It is also normal for our reactions to be influenced by both resistance and motivation. Transitions are complex human processes, and the way we get through them is influenced by a number of circumstances.
External changes are changes originated by society, markets and organisations.
A transition is the internal, human adjustment that is initiated when the change is significant and relevant to the individual.