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Employment relations and employee engagement
Employment relations and employee engagement

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4.1 Types of change

Broadly speaking, we can categorise types of organisational change according to four characteristics (Todnem By, 2005; Burnes, 2014):

  1. The occurrence of the change, particularly distinguishing between discontinuous change and incremental change.
  2. The way in which the change comes about, particularly the difference between top-down changes planned by senior leaders and emergent or bottom-up change (which might include those resulting from organisational development or quality improvement type approaches).
  3. The scale of change especially differences between fine-tuning existing organisational processes, products or structures and transformational change in which these might be completely reconfigured.
  4. Whether there is a specific ‘content’ focus of the change which might be organised around, for example, the need to relocate, introduce new technology, the merger with or acquisition of another company or expansion into new products or markets.

Activity 5

Timing: About 60 minutes

To what extent does your personal experience of organisational change resonate with the different types of change identified above?

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