8 Dimensions of Organizational Capacity for Change (OCC)

What is Organizational Capacity for Change?

William Judge defined the Organizational Capacity for Change (OCC) as the approach used by an organization to build its ability to manage change effectively. The author says, “Those entrusted with authority within an organization must pursue results and build organizational capacity for change.” This tool can be used by organizations to ensure that it is prepared to handle change now and in the future. This means that the organizational leadership must reflect appropriate qualities and understanding of change.

As suggested by Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that will survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” This is the rule of the jungle, and it fits perfectly with the human world.

The central idea of Judge’s model is that strategic leaders can prepare effectively for the future by building the organization’s capacity for change. There are 8 dimensions of building capacity for organizational change as listed below:

The Eight Dimensions of Organizational Capacity for Change

1) Trustworthy Leaders

Members of the organization must develop a relationship of trust in order to achieve lasting and productive change. Building a strong team to implement change requires leaders to be trustworthy. This means that followers or employees should be able to trust the leader to lead them and make decisions on their behalf. Trustworthy leaders are not only competent in their position, but also take the interests of stakeholders into consideration when making crucial decisions. If leaders are to create the need for change and convince their employees to follow their strategic vision for change, they should first win the followers’ trust.

2) Trusting Followers

The second dimension of organizational capacity for change is trusting followers. Employees should be able to accept and welcome the need for change. To be prepared for change, employees should be able to trust their leaders. The leader is half-baked without followers; there must be a trusting team to initiate and implement required change initiatives. An organization whose members are pessimistic, not ready, untrusting, or cynical is does not have the required capacity for change.

3) Capable Champions

Individuals and organizations are often characterized by the state of inertia. They prefer doing things the traditional way rather than making substantive changes. Thus, organizations should develop a group of change champions in order to promote the readiness for change in the future. These champions of change can be drawn from top or middle level management.

4) Involved Middle Management

Mid-level managers link top managers with frontline workers. Their involvement ranks as the third dimension of organizational capacity for change. The head of departments are examples of middle managers. Their role in bringing about change to organizations is undisputable. The middle managers can block change initiatives due to their unique position in the organization. Therefore, middle level managers should be involved in the change process so that other employees will follow. Middle level managers also communicate the need for change and provide the required support for frontline workers during organizational change.

5) Systems Thinking

The fifth dimension of organizational capacity for change is systems thinking. This dimension requires organization to operate as a whole with several components and processes involved in promoting change. In this regard, organizations should develop appropriate organizational infrastructure such as rules, structural arrangements, and human resources should be brought together to prepare the organization for change.

6) Communication Systems:

The second infrastructure dimension of organizational capacity for change is communication systems. Organizations should build their capacity for change by creating various platforms for communication such as email networks, telephone calls, corporate announcements, and face-to-face meetings. The communication process should focus on the vision and value for change. Communication helps an organization to convert knowledge and ideas into actionable initiatives.

7) Accountable Culture

Organizational culture plays a significant role in enhancing sustainable change. This is the third infrastructure dimension of organizational capacity for change. Organizational culture should focus on both innovation and accountability. In this perspective, individuals should be given the autonomy to pursue innovative ideas in the workplace while at the same time holding them responsible for delivering the desired outcomes. Employees should follow deadlines, operate within deadlines, and stick to performance standards.

8) Innovative Culture

The last dimension of organizational capacity for change is innovative culture. Innovative culture in an organization enhances employees’ preparedness for change and promotes excellence. People should be empowered to create innovative ideas in order to achieve organizational change. John Kotter is one of the champions of innovation as a prerequisite for improved organizational performance.

Concluding Remarks

Generally, the culture of an organization shapes behaviors and motivates individuals to pursue positive results during the period of change. The shared values, systems, and infrastructure of the organization should be properly structured to achieve stability and readiness for change.

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