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?

Cheers,
Collin

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. https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-67
Cheers,
Dr. Jeb Hurley, DBA

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