Types of Change: Developmental Change, Transitional Change

Change Types

Change types require different strategies and plans to effectively gain employee engagement and acceptance of change. The three types of change that occur most frequently in organisations are:

  1. Developmental Change
  2. Transitional Change
  3. Transformational Change

Change management theories effectively support how to deal with developmental and transitional change but are less effective at dealing with successfully implementing transformational change. A critical step in determining which approach to use in overcoming resistance to implementing organisation change is to determine which type of change the organisation is experiencing.

A. Developmental Change: Developmental change occurs when a company makes an improvement to their current business. If a company decided to improve their processes, methods or performance standards this would be considered developmental change.

Companies are continually are continually processing developmental change to some degree in order to stay competitive. This type of change should cause little stress to current employees as long as the rationle for the new process is clearly conveyed and the employee are educated on the new techniques.
When major change such as the decision to close a division if the company attempted to implement developmental change as the first step in streamlining the business, employees may be more likely to accept the change. The employees could see that the company attempted different strategies before determining that closing division was the only option.

B. Transitional Change: Transitional Change is more intrusive than developmental Change as it replaces existing processes or procedures with something that is completely new to the company. The period when the old process is being dismantled and the new process is being implemented is called the transitional phase. A corporate reorganization, merger, acquisition, creating new products or services, and implementing new technology are examples of transitional change.
Transitional change may not require a significant shift in culture or behavior but it is more challenging to implement than developmental change. The future of the organisation is known when the transformation begins which can add a level or discomfort to employees.
The outcome of transitional change is unknown so employees may feel that their job is unstable and their own personal insecurities may increase. Education on the new procedures should be commenced at each stage of the new process. This will allow employees to feel that they are actively involved and engaged in the change.
As an employee’s level of engagement in the new procedure increases, their resistance to change may decrease. Management should be cognizant of the impact and stress these changes will have on their employees. The company should continue to inform the employees of their status offer support in helping them deal with the personal adjustments they will be forced to make.
C. Transitional Change: Transformational change occurs after the transition period. T ransformational change may involve both developmental and transitional change. It is common for transitional and transformation change to occur in tandem. When companies are faced with the emergence of radically different technologies,significant changes in supply and demand, unexpected competition, lack of revenue or other major shifts in how they do business developmental or transitional change may not offer the company the solution they need to stay competitive. Instead of methodically implementing new processes, the company may be forces to drastically transform themselves.