We solve: Organizational capacity for change relies on knowledge, emotion and action

28.2.2023Johanna LainioWe solve

In recent years, change management has focused on crisis awareness and the organizations’ ability to weather storms of unexpected change. Crises such as the climate change and the pandemic have required organizations to act swiftly, but in the midst of change it is also important to find time for a pause. At the same time, digitalization is transforming the way we work, and the economy is no longer as predictable as it used to be. Developing the capacity and skills to change, at an organizational and individual levels, will be a key factor of success in the future of working life.

Illustration image.

A successful change process breaks an organization away from the old, and adapts to the new environment as it is, rather than trying to adapt to an outdated understanding of the world. Change is therefore hands-on work that requires knowledge, skills and tools, not forgetting the emotional elements.

The ability to change is likely to be one of the most important ways for a company to create competitive advantage in the future. Organization’s readiness for change, and its ability to respond quickly, will largely determine its success in the ever-changing business environment. Organizations recognize the importance of the ability to constantly renew itself, but the challenges associated with it are also identified.

So, what does this ability for change include? The ability is often referred to as resilience and it includes the skills to act fit for purpose in a wide range of new situations. An organization that possesses the capacity to change is curious about change by nature, has a diverse range of perspectives, is able to learn new things and learn from the old, and is agile in its ability to experiment. Resilience results from courage that arises from a sense of security, the belief that despite uncertainty things will work out.

The ability to change is reflected in the company's activities through creativity, curiosity and ingenuity. An organization with the capacity to change works with relentless ambition.

At an organizational level, change capabilities can be supported through organizational culture and -structures. A change-ready organization does not experience change as a single project, but as a continuous process. Thus, the need for individual change processes is reduced and the organization experiences continuous small-scale development and renewal.

The ability and readiness to change supports and boosts organizations to succeed in change, to orient their thinking and actions towards finding opportunities and solutions. Strengthening the capability to change is therefore an important enabler of success and many organizations have made it a priority. Because of the complexity of the phenomenon, the solutions are also complex and require commitment, courage and adequate resourcing to create a change-ready organizational culture.

The ability to change requires leadership

So, change does not happen by itself, it has to be led. A resilient organization moves from traditional change management to managing the change capacity of its people and, through them, the organization’s ability to change.

Managing change capability is based on three pillars

  1. Genuine appreciation and encouragement
  2. Active listening and allowing criticism
  3. Involving staff in decision-making

To be effective, resilience requires a sense of psychological security, an important element of which is trust; trust in the organization, in one's colleagues, and in one's own ability to learn, to be flexible and to cope with new situations. The experience of the meaningfulness also contributes to a sense of confidence. The capacity to change can also be enhanced by encouraging continuous learning.

Co-development and peer learning can also be used to increase an organizations capacity for change. By bringing organizations and change management professionals together, and by creating different forums for knowledge sharing, a new capacity for change can be created and ways of creating a change-friendly organizational culture can be found.

The Satakunta University of Applied Sciences' Business Intelligence Center (BIC) is involved in a national project to create a new model to increase cooperation between business and higher education institutions in order to strengthen the change capacity of SMEs and micro-enterprises. The aim is to support enterprises in responding to local and global change challenges in their business environment.

Local know-how and skills in change management will be strengthened through workshops and a network of change-agents is being built. The activities will develop services and guidance activities for enterprises and direct them to the services of the universities of applied sciences.

Strengthening the capacity for change in the business sector in Satakunta will support the development of the region's vitality. Organizations can make extensive use of the skills and networks of the UAS, so development does not have to be done alone. The future is made together!

Did you know this?

  • Change capacity is not a static characteristic, but a combination of skills that can be identified, learned and developed.


We solve

Read also