Is there a theory that emphasizes the benefits of organizational change?

I may have imagined this, but I vaguely recall there being a theory that organizational change, simply for the sake of change, could be beneficial.

Obviously, there are costs involved with any change, but the theory went something like this:

  • Your current structure optimizes for a certain objective, and creates encourages certain ties in the organizational network
  • Over time, this objective gets “mined”, and the ties have become formed
  • Continuing this structure does not have any inherent value, as most of the behaviours have now been entrenched
  • A new structure may help to solve for gaps that emerged from “overoptimizing” on the previous objective (e.g. if you were functionally organized, you may have had gaps in cross-functional coordination), and will also encourage new ties. The important/key old processes and ties presumably remain intact.

Does this theory have a “name”, or are there related theories/evidence that might be useful in assessing the merits of this kind of hypothesis?


Hi Collin,
While my expertise is in human motivation and team effectiveness, there are quite a few cross-over points in the areas of social psychology and organizational behavior. In terms of foundation theory, you might be thinking of Kurt Lewin. His thinking and 3-step model dominated the theory and practice of change management for over 40 years in the 20th century. For a more contemporary look at organizational change theory you might want to read: A theory of organizational readiness for change, by Bryan J Weiner.
Dr. Jeb Hurley, DBA

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