Four Forces That Prevent Change in Organizations: How to Become an Innovative Organization

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Abstract

Large, top-down organizations tend to be bureaucratic, less innovative, and more resistant to change. The following 4 forces prevent such an organization from changing: (a) behavioral momentum, which is the tendency for behaviors to continue unchanged rather than evolve with the dynamic world; (b) regression to the mean, which refers to the phenomenon that ensures that even if an organization overcomes behavioral momentum and adopts change, the windfall gains of the change are always at risk of being lost; (c) inadequate behavioral developmental stage of addressing issues; and (d) interaction among the first 3 variables. These forces may happen by mass adoption from large competing organizations. Furthermore, in such organizations, the chain of command extends from top to bottom, which implies a greater superiority and domination of higher levels over multiple lower ones. However, in a rapidly changing business world, these characteristics are a death knell to business success and sustenance. Adopting a highly autonomous 2- to 3-layer flat management structure, on the other hand, fosters creativity and innovation. Companies then can rely on a broad base of leaders and employees who feel ownership for the overall success of the organization and innovation can occur in small units that have autonomy and power over their own culture.

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