Developing and Implementing Change

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Change also known as innovation means to alter or to be different. It is not a new concept. According to Patronis Jones (2009, p.168) and Harris (2002, p.145), “change is the only constant” whereby it is an important part of an organisation and happens all the time. Without change, improvement will not happen. In the healthcare industry for example, without change, nurses will still be trained in hospitals (Anderson, 2005).

Change can be either planned or unplanned. Unplanned change occurs suddenly due to specific circumstances whereas planned change is a longer process that involves planning to achieve a specific goal (Patronis Jones, 2009). In addition, change may be due to internal or external forces. Internal forces are factors within the organisation such as organisational values, beliefs and culture whereas external forces are factors that come from outside the organisation such as social factors, economic factors and legislations (Patronis Jones, 2009). Change can also be personal or organisational. However, according to Harris (2002) and Wainwright (2008), organisational change mainly involves personal change. This means that change always involve people who plan, implement and evaluate changes individually or within a team (Harris, 2002).

Three types of change have been identified within organisations: transitional, transformational and developmental. Transitional change is the most common type of change; it is driven by management and involves small continuous changes in people, structure, procedures or technology to improve organisational performance (Gilley, Gilley & McMillan, 2009). Transformational change is driven by leaders and is competitive, “fundamental and radical” involving a change of culture and value system; for example the merging of two organisations (Harris, 2002; Gilley, Gilley & McMillan, 2009, p.76). Developmental change on the other hand involves a continuous dynamic change aiming at avoiding radical changes (Gilley, Gilley & McMillan, 2009). According to Gilley, Dixon & Gilley (2008, p.154), “transformational change is the key to realising innovation in an organisation.”

For organisations to succeed and be competitive, they must support and implement continuous and transformational change (Gilley, Gilley & McMillan, 2009; Gilley, Dixon, & Gilley, 2008). The aim of the health industry is to provide quality patient centered care. However, the healthcare industry is facing an aging population and workforce. Skills and resources to manage complex and chronic illnesses are required. In addition, consumers are more educated about the healthcare system and want to manage their own health (Reithmeier, 2009).

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