Change Readiness People Science Brief

Want your organization to change? Help people move into change readiness first. Here’s what the research says…

Updated 10/16/2017

Establish beliefs to support the change you want.

Change readiness is one of the most important drivers of employee support for change initiatives at work. Change readiness happens when people believe a change is necessary, desirable, and feasible.

Peek into a course description for Accelerating Change Readiness, Agility, and Flexibility at UCBerkeley’s Haas School of Business by Dr. Homa Bahrami, researcher in “super-flexibility:”

People become ready for change as 5 key beliefs form.

Change readiness includes several dimensions:

    1. Discrepancy (is there a gap between where our organization is and where we need to be?)
    2. Organizational Valence (will change benefit my organization?)
    3. Personal Valence (will change benefit me?)
    4. Management Support (are leaders committed to change?)
    5. Self-Efficacy (is change feasible?)

Expect people who are all-in already to become most easily ready for change.

People with high levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment are more likely to experience and exhibit change readiness.

Participation aids change readiness.

There is a strong reciprocal relationship between change readiness and participation. People who participate in change tend to experience greater change readiness. Reciprocally, change readiness predicts future participation and change engagement.

Some people will have an easier time becoming change-ready than others.

Individual characteristics like high self-efficacy, a problem solving orientation, and openness to change link to change readiness.

Workplace factors can also promote change readiness.

Change readiness is better in organizations with:

    • more autonomy and decision-making in job design
    • stronger social support
    • a more flexible work culture
    • clearer information sharing
    • sufficient resources and capabilities

Think about change readiness as a sort of organizational fitness:

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