Transitional Change Vs Transformational Change


Transitional change, as noted by Anderson and Ackerman-Anderson (2010), is the required response to more substantial dynamics in the market environment needs for success (Anderson & Ackerman-Anderson, 2010). The change begins when the management discovers that the company has not taken advantage of an absolute opportunity. Organizational changes involve restructuring, consolidations and mergers, introducing new procedures, policies, processes, systems, service, and products. The transition change usually does away with the old structure and presents an overhauled system. It usually takes some time for the employees to adapt to the new systems in place. Transitional changes have definite beginning and end dates that are to put in place a specified structure to replace the old one (Ferguson et al., 2013). People dynamics becomes more complicated as people have to adapt to the new environment. The people have to gain new knowledge and skills to be relevant to their positions in the new system.

Transformational change is more complicated than transitional change. How an organization carries out, transformation change will determine its success or failure. The change is nonlinear since it needs more effort to carry out. Transformational change demands a complete change in culture, mindset and awareness of the people if it has to be successful. While transitional change is periodical, transformational change is radical and may take place within a short time. The company on recognizing an absolute opportunity to change responds quickly. The people in turn radically respond to the changes even though they had successful strategies in the past. Transformational change means a change of direction to achieve the transformational changes taking place. An example is Apple Company, which reinstated Steve Jobs since who did not disappoint them as he drove change that brought significant profitability to the company.

The change has many uncertainties and shifts when compared to transitional change. Transformational encompasses constant learning to adapt better to the radical changes. In transitional change, one can have a very clear picture of the destination due to the changes applied. In transformational change, the destination remains unknown. Transformation changes do not only requires changes in actions and skills, as the case of transitional change, but also requires changes in the culture behavior and mindset of the people in the organization. The resistance of eh employees can be countered if they are included in the process of change. The rapid changes cause resistant, which are felt more in transformational change due to the many uncertainties the organization faces as it moves towards its future aspirations. Due to the many uncertainties the change evidenced in transformational change can be termed nonlinear while that of transitional change linear (Kochan & Pascarelli, 2012).

Both transitional and transformation change strategies seek to move from an existing way of doing business to a new one though not in the same way. As a result, they both conduct an impact analysis. They result in a lot of discomfort among the employees, as they do not know what the next changes or shifts are. They both have the crucial aspect of differentiating between the old and new state and come up with the results of engaging in such a process.


Both the process involves a complete overhaul of an organization’s structure but in different ways. Both methods embrace change in the organizational structure, but transformational change stands out as the most complex of the two. Whatever change takes place in a company is for the better.

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