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Five Basic Principles of Organizational Change

Successful organizational change can be brought about by people-centric communication. In light of this, George Pitagorsky, in his article in, lists the five basic principles of organizational change.

Five Basic Principles

  1. Know and state values, goals, objectives, and strategy: Knowing where you are going and how you will get there is a major success factor. However, steer clear of arriving at a goal in a manner that presupposes a solution rather than the removal of a problem, or the achievement of an objective. Besides, the performance improvement is easier achieved by being open to an evolving approach, the continuous improvement based on cause analysis and cause removal and recognition of the successes of the target organization along with its failures drive the effort.
  2. Identify and engage stakeholders: Engaging, respecting and communicating with stakeholders is fundamental to effective human relations. Clear communications, either written or oral, can dispel anxiety, rumors, and frustration.
  3. Manage expectations: Setting realistic expectations can promote success. Also, do no set up fixed deadlines arbitrarily, as people will go towards the deadline without making any effort to push back with a reality-based argument.
  4. Monitor & control: Managing expectations and steering the program ahead when barriers present themselves can be achieved by regular communication concerning the state of the project.
  5. Change is continuous: Organizational change must be treated as a program as not a project, as programs are open-ended and consist of a series of projects and operational activities. Besides, organizational change doesn’t end when the initial change project is at an end. In fact, it is this initial change project that sets the stage for the inevitable continuous change. As such, the change project should allow for a controlled continuous change process, which should be set up as an integral part of ongoing operations.


Change projects are more likely to succeed when these principles are considered. In addition, we must accept that organizational change is a program and that all the processes must, therefore, be considered to be a cohesive plan which is focussed on optimal performance.

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