- LoginAccess your ApplicationOr learn more about our programmes and applyAccess MyINSEAD
Professor of Strategy
Huy Q., Mintzberg H. (2003). The Rhythm of Change MIT Sloan Management Review, 44(4), pp. 79-85.
Organizational change has to be managed with a profound appreciation of stability. Accordingly, there are times when change is sensibly resisted, for example, when an organization should simply continue to pursue a perfectly good strategy.The authors propose a framework whereby pragmatic, coherent approaches to thinking about change can be explored. They first outline three main processes of change: dramatic, systematic, and organic. Because dramatic change alone can be just drama, systematic change by itself can be deadening, and organic change without the other two can be chaotic, they must be combined or, more often, sequenced and paced over time, creating a rhythm of change. Based on their research, the authors have seen this symbiosis happening in three main modes.Revolution is dramatic, but often comes from organic origins and later requires systematic consolidation. Reform is largely systematic, but has to stimulate the organic and can sometimes be driven by the dramatic. And Rejuvenation is fundamentally organic, but usually must make use of the systematic, and its consequences can be inadvertently dramatic. In illustrating this framework, they cite older examples alongside newer ones, which helps them to make another crucial point: the problem with change is the present.That is, an obsession with the new tends to blind managers to the fact that the basic processes of change and continuity do not change.