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date: 30 March 2023

Organizational Changelocked

Organizational Changelocked

  • Thomas PackardThomas PackardSan Diego State University, Professor Emeritus


Human service organizations (HSOs) continue to face significant challenges to improve performance and the quality of working life for employees. Planned organizational change can help HSOs meet these challenges through the use of evidence-based tactics and methods ranging from team building and organizational redesign to implementation science. While organizational change is a dynamic rather than a liner process, a phase model can provide valuable structure. Organizational leaders or other potential change agents typically begin by identifying a change need or opportunity and creating a change goal that describes a desired future state. Initial assessments of the problem should include assessment of the organization’s and its leaders’ readiness and capacity for change. Implementation tactics include creating a sense of urgency and communicating the change vision and plan for implementation. Developing and maintaining support for the process are ongoing. An action system for implementing the change initiative should include representatives from throughout the organization. Provisions should be made for team building and conflict resolution. Widespread staff participation in activities including problem solving groups enhances staff commitment and improves the quality of the change results through the expertise that employees bring to the process. Action planning and monitoring systems can track progress and identify emerging concerns to address. Progress on the change process should be regularly and fully communicated to all employees. Agreed upon changes should be institutionalized through new policies and procedures, staff training, and organizational culture changes. All changes made should be evaluated to assess success and identify future change opportunities.


  • Administration and Management
  • Social Work Profession

Updated in this version

Content and references updated for the Encyclopedia of Macro Social Work.

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