Why Does Change Fail?

Why Does Change Fail?



Why Does Change Fail?

John P. Kotter in Why Transformation Efforts Fail notes one of the most important lessons to be learnt from failure of organizations. Thus, all change phases must be fulfilled for the entity to succeed in its market of operation. Additionally, change fails because of skipped phases of change that creates the illusion that the entity is moving rapidly towards new order of execution tasks and business operations.

Kotter (2007) notes that critical mistakes within any change phase can have a devastating effect on the change process as well as the survival of the entity in the new market conditions. He identifies eight steps that can be used to transform an organization and enhance the results of the change process for the organization. The eight phases are identified as establishing a sense of urgency for change; formation of powerful guiding coalitions; creation of a vision for the change process; communication of the vision; empowering the members in the organization towards the vision; planning and creation of short term wins; consolidation of improvements and enhancing change; and institutionalization of new approaches as the last phase of the transformation process (Kotter, 2007).

            Jeff James of Disney Institute in Why 70% of Organizational Change Fails notes that organizational change failure is attributed to a variety of factors. Such factors include lack of knowledge on the change process and appropriate strategies, lack of practice and skill towards management of change process in the organization, the presence of hidden conflicts that work against the change in process in the organization, and the presence of an organizational culture that is working against the change process in the organization (James, 2012). The author notes that the management of change is an essential process for the development and survival of modern organizations.

Some of the similarities evident in the two articles are the role of prioritization towards achievement of change objectives in the organization and hidden conflicts in the form of cultural resistance to the old order of business operations (James, 2012). Both articles view lack of expertise in management of change as an impediment towards successful transformation of the modern organization. The lack of expertise in management of change in modern organizations has been termed as an issue of concern. The lack of knowledge and expertise for change processes results in hurried change processes that may undermine the overall goals and objectives of change processes.

The differences between the articles are the depth of the insights provided by the authors towards change management and the obstacles identified as impediments to effective change. Kotter provides an exemplary model that can be used towards management of change and transforming modern organizations. James provides the hindrances that he terms as general inhibitors of change for modern entities (James, 2012). Kotter’s article provides remedies for the causes of failure in management of change in organizations. James’s article only provides some of the main causes of failure in management of change for modern organizations.

            Some of the main ideas evident from the two articles include the role of planning for management of change is essential for modern entities given that it involves the allocation of resources in the form of funds and expertise to manage change in the organization. Additionally, planning involves ensuring a sense of urgency towards achievement of the goals and objectives of the change process (Kotter, 2007). Furthermore, change in organizations involves employees who have implemented cultures in their respective conduct in the organization. Thus, effective management of change involves active involvement and engagement of the employees in the management and initialization of change in the organization. This provides a means of enabling the staff to understand the importance of change and all the change processes towards an efficacious transformation of the organization to a new order of business operation and organizational conduct. Entities that have efficacious change management strategies experience higher levels of success in dealing with change as compared to ineffective and stagnant strategies. Change as a process is largely associated with a new order of business operations and conduct as a means of dealing with an evolving and new market environment.


Kotter, J.P. (2007). “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail.” Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from http://hbr.org/2007/01/leading-change-why-transformation-efforts-fail/ar/1

James, J. (2012, October 25). “70 percent of all changes attempted in organizations fail.” Disney Institute. Retrieved from http://disneyinstitute.com/blog/2012/10/why-70-percent-of-organizational-change-fails/110/

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