The Advantages & Disadvantages of a Change in an Organization

by Karen Worthy - Updated September 26, 2017
Manage organizational change carefully to ensure employees stay productive.

Determine what organizational changes are appropriate for your company by first understanding the advantages and disadvantages of change in an organization. While some change is inevitable, taking steps to reduce the impact can leave the organization healthier in the long run. Change in an organization is created either internally or externally. Depending on the source of change, there are different advantages and disadvantages associated with the change.

Advantages of Internally Imposed Change

The organization will change when it loses one of its key members to retirement.

Make the most of an internally created change, such as someone retiring or someone lobbying for a vending machine in the office. When change starts from within the organization, it is often received in a more positive manner. Internal change has many advantages for an organization, including increased morale among the employees, a sense of employee empowerment and control and a high likelihood of the change becoming permanent. Because the change originates from the group, it is more easily accepted and becomes the norm.

Advantages of Externally Imposed Change

Company mergers and deals can create positive change for an organization.

Create change from outside the organization when change needs to happen quickly and the organization is not yet ready for the change. While external change is harder to accept than internal change, there are some distinct advantages for external change in an organization. This type of change can help jump start a declining organization and can change its course completely. One example of this is if a company is bought out by a larger company. This external change can help save the smaller company by looking objectively at the situation and changing when needed. Another advantage of external organizational change is that many organizations tend to reach a plateau level if left unchanged for too long. People become comfortable in their ways and stop seeking new and better ways to accomplish things. External change is good for improving the organization when it cannot be done internally.

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Disadvantages of Internally Imposed Change

A strong-willed person will often overshadow those around him.

Not all change is a good thing, and sometimes internally generated change can breed bad results. If a team or organization has a very domineering member, the internal change will often be a result of that single person and will therefore be too single-minded to be good for the organization at large. Additionally, when teams have been working together for too long in the same environment, the group mentality can take over and create unproductive change within the organization. When this type of internally imposed change is happening, bring in external resources to help manage the process.

Disadvantages of Externally Imposed Change

When the source of the change is removed, often the organization will return to its prior state.

When change is forced on an organization, often the organization will rebel. One of the main disadvantages of externally imposed change is that it is unsuccessful in the long term. Often, external resources can force the change for a while, but when those people move on to different roles, the organization will return to its previous behaviors. Additionally, the change process itself can cause temporary chaos within the organization and actually reduce productivity for a couple of weeks or months.

About the Author

Karen Worthy has been a freelance writer since 2007. She has written on topics ranging from personal finance and technology to education and parenting. Over the years, she has worked as a technical engineer, general manager and tax consultant. She has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas.

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