The Causes of Change

 To deal effectively with increasing rates of change it is important to understand its underlying causes.  Organisational changes are frequently driven by causes external to the organisation.



  • Competition Law
  • Environmental Protection
  • Taxation
  • Import and Export restrictions
  • Health and Safety Legislation
  • Employment Law
  • Government Stability


  • Population demographics
  • Income Distribution
  • Social mobility
  • Lifestyle Patterns
  • Attitudes to work and leisure
  • Consumerism
  • Education


  • Business Cycles
  • Cost of Capital
  • Money Supply
  • Inflation
  • Growth rate of the Economy
  • Unemployment
  • Disposable Income
  • Energy availability and cost


  • Government Research and Spending
  • Focus of Research Effort
  • New Developments
  • Speed of Technology Transfer
  • Rates of Obsolescence

Change also occurs at different speeds, but broadly divides into gradual and radical forms.


Analysing change

Both gradual and radical change may be either reactive or proactive, according to whether you make the change voluntarily or in response to other pressures.

Gradual change

A gradual change is a change that occurs slowly over a prolonged period, at a steady rate, or with minor fluctuations in intensity.  It can involve many people, or just a few and is frequently linked to continuous improvement programmes.

Radical change

A radical change is a sudden and dramatic change with marked effects.  Often radical change is on a large scale.  Organisations and individuals often stand to gain most from a radical change.  However the risks can appear to rise in direct proportion.

Learning to change may, in many cases, constitute a major change in itself.  One of the best ways to establish a new adaptable way of thinking is to develop a ‘learning organisation’.  This is an organisation in which change-oriented thinking becomes a habit for everyone, and so change is always under way, with all systems and processes constantly under review.