An Overview of Change Management

Author: David M. Lynch

Primary Advisor:

Committee Members:

Masters thesis, The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston..

As technology advances enter and infiltrate the healthcare arena, the impact on people is inevitable and creates one of the most difficult problems facing organizations today: change. Technology is not only a cause of change but also the result of change resulting in a very complex relationship. Organizational change is a reality of the modern world and is not likely to disappear.  In fact organizations, particularly healthcare entities, can expect to face even more change in the future at an even faster pace.  As organizations have to deal with new technology, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, and process improvement initiatives, change management is a crucial activity.

According to Drucker (1999), organizations are not coping with change very well.  The reality is that relatively few of the organizations that institute change, or are forced into it, realize the benefits they anticipated. Many , end up worse off than they were before.  However, a failed change initiative does not mean that is impossible for an organization to successfully engage in change.   Many organizations do succeed by integrating any technical solution that was part of the change package with a thorough and proactive orchestration of the non-technical human aspects associated with change (ODR, 1999).  That is, organizations that succeed at change do so by considering the people who are affected by, will have to live with, and are often crucial to effecting the change in question.  Managing the human aspects of an organizational change initiative not only ensures the successful implementation and use of the technical solution, it establishes the precedence for implementation of future solutions.

This paper describes how organizations can be successful at change by using a framework for assessing and addressing the non-technical human aspects of change. Specifically, this paper provides a review of the current change management literature and identifies four critical attributes for improving the success of technical implementations and reducing the inevitable drop in productivity and quality that typically accompanies change.