The Challenge of Triggering Change in Organizations

  • Nicole Zimmermann


Organizational environments are dynamic, and the speed of environmental change as well as its direction is often difficult to anticipate. In order to survive in the long term, organizations need to be able to successfully cope with a changing environment. They have to respond to emerging technologies or strategies even before they are fully established in the market. For this purpose, they need to be crafted in a way that makes them adaptable systems. Quick and appropriate organizational reactions are desired, and the ability to trigger organizational adaptations and transformations is important, but this poses great challenges to organizations. There is wide agreement that—in particular for established organizations—change is a difficult task. These establishments are often incapable of responding effectively to shifts in their external environment. “[… E]xisting organizations, especially the largest and most powerful, rarely change strategies and structures quickly enough to keep up with the demands of uncertain, changing environments.” This failure to understand the need for change or to initiate it threatens the performance and even the survival of organizations. Three examples will elaborate more clearly the difficulties organizations encounter when the demands from their environments change.


Organizational Change Infant Formula Strategic Orientation Digital Equipment Corporation Digital Photography 
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© Gabler Verlag | Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole Zimmermann

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