Organizational Change is Increasingly Disruptive

November 20, 2006 ( - More than 80% of executives say that the pace of change is speeding up in organizations all over the world, and seven out of 10 say their organizations experienced disruptive change during the last year, according to a new global survey commissioned by American Management Association (AMA) and conducted by the Human Resource Institute (HRI).

According to a press release on the survey, when asked to compare disruptive change (defined as severe surprises or unanticipated shocks) in their organizations today with disruptive change over the previous five years, about 37% said their organizations had experienced more shocks and surprises, compared with only 19% who said there were fewer and less-frequent shocks and surprises.

The extent to which a change is viewed as disruptive depends on how agile and resilient the organization is, according to the release. The AMA/HRI survey found higher performers tend to be both more agile and more resilient than lower performers. Additionally, compared with their lower-performing counterparts, higher performers view themselves as having superior change abilities at the individual, team and organizational levels.

The survey found the most important factors driving organizational change are expectations of customers and vendors, new products and services, and technological and process changes.

“The actions of corporate leaders and managers can raise or lower the level of corporate agility and resilience. Functional silos, excessive decisionmaking steps, norms of conformity, restricted flow of information, cumbersome infrastructures and deafness to any ideas but our own-these are some of the ways that an organization’s management team creates a sluggish company unable to work with change,” said Edward Reilly, President and CEO of AMA, in the release.

A full survey report can be read here .