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Organization Change

Organization Change
Theory and Practice

Fifth Edition
  • W. Warner Burke - Columbia University, USA, Teachers College, Columbia University, USA

April 2017 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Change is a constant in today's organizations. Leaders, managers, and employees at all levels must understand both how to implement planned changed and effectively handle unexpected change. The Fifth Edition of the Organization Change: Theory and Practice provides an eye-opening exploration into the nature of change by presenting the latest evidence-based research to discuss a range of theories, models, and perspectives on organization change. Bestselling author, W. Warner Burke, skillfully connects theory to practice with modern cases of effective and ineffective organization change, recent examples of transformational leadership and planned and revolutionary change, and best practices to successfully influence change. This fully-updated new edition also includes a new chapter on healthcare and government organizations, offering practical applications for non-profit organizations.

1. Sources for Understanding Organization Change
Introduction and Overview

A Short Story of Launching Organization Change

2. Rethinking Organization Change
The Paradox of Planned Organization Change

Making the Case for Organization Change

Personal Declarations and Points of View

A Closing Request

3. A Brief History of Organization Change
Scientific Management

The Hawthorne Studies

Industrial Psychology

Survey Feedback

Sensitivity Training

Sociotechnical Systems

Organization Development

The Managerial Grid and Organization Development

Coercion and Confrontation

Management Consulting


4. Theoretical Foundations of Organizations and Organization Change
Open-System Theory

Characteristics of Open Systems

Organization Change Is Systemic

Toward a Deeper Understanding of Organization Change

Capra’s Three Criteria for Understanding Life

Implications for Organizations and Organization Change

5. The Nature of Organization Change
Revolutionary Change

Evolutionary Change

Revolutionary Change: Case Example

Evolutionary Change: Case Example


6. Levels of Organization Change: Individual, Group, and Larger System
Change in Organizations at the Individual Level

Individual Responses to Organization Change

Change in Organizations at the Group Level

Group Responses to Organization Change

Change in Organizations at the Larger-System Level

System Responses to Organization Change


7. Organization Change: Research and Theory
Reviews of Organization Change Research

Recent Approaches to Research and Theory

Organization Models

Organization Change Theory

Current Thinking on Organization Change and Research


8. Conceptual Models for Understanding Organization Change
Content: What to Change

Process: How to Change—A Theoretical Framework

Process: How to Change—Practice Frameworks

Mini-Theories Related to Organization Change

The Content and Process of Strategic Change in Organizations

Strategies for Effecting Change in Human Systems


9. Integrated Models for Understanding Organizations and for Leading and Managing Change
What Is an Organizational Model?

Why Use an Organizational Model?

Organizational Models and Organization Change

A Comparison of the Three Models


10. The Burke–Litwin Causal Model of Organization Performance and Change

The Model

Support for the Model’s Validity


11. Organizational Culture Change
Experiencing Organizational Culture

The British Airways Story: A Case of Culture Change

You Don’t Change Culture by Trying to Change the Culture

A Theoretical Summary of the British Airways Story


12. Understanding and Working With Loosely Coupled Systems
The Case of Change at the A. K. Rice Institute

Organizational Structure and Loosely Coupled Systems

Loosely Coupled Systems


13. Health Care and Government Organizations
Important Characteristics of Health Care and Government Organizations

Summary and Some Conclusions

14. Transformational Leadership
Does Leadership Matter?

On Defining Leadership

Toward Further Definition

Characteristics of Executive Leadership

Howard Gardner’s Leading Minds

Howard Gardner’s Changing Minds

15. Leading Organization Change
Phases of Organization Change and the Leader’s Role

The Prelaunch Phase

The Launch Phase

Postlaunch: Further Implementation

Sustaining the Change


16. Organization Change: Summary and Integration
Applying The Tipping Point Principles to Planned Organization Change

Changing the Organization

Successful Processes of Organization Change

Positive Organization Change

The Look of Change

17. Organization Change: What We Need to Know
The Process of Organization Change

Organization Change Leadership

Organizational Structure

Formal and Informal Rewards

Training and Development

Teams and Teamwork in Organizations

Organizational Size

Organizational Performance

Learning Priorities Moving Forward


Appendix: Annotated Bibliography
About the Author


Instructor Resource Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.
  • Each chapter includes video and multimedia resources related to important topics and designed to supplement key points within the text for use in independent or classroom-based explorations of key topics.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.

This is an excellent textbook that outlines change models and criteria for use. I recommend this textbook for the course.

Dr Barbara Carter
Management Dept, Colorado Tech Univ-Co Springs
May 19, 2022
Key features


  • A new chapter on changing healthcare and government organizations describes important concepts to remember when working with nonprofit organizations and offers cases and examples to illustrate what is and isn’t effective when bringing about change in this environment. 
  • Seven new cases highlighting organization change offer readers more insight into the practical applications and tools they can use on the job.
  • Expanded and updated coverage on the latest research for learning agility provides readers with a foundational understanding how to study, analyze, and interpret new situations and new business problems.
  • Alexander Hamilton's biography by Ron Chernow includes an annotated bibliography to inform readers of the relevance and accuracy the sources carry when talking about someone who many consider the first authentic change leader in the United States.
  • Updated discussions include the latest research regarding leader development, transformational leadership, and nonprofit organizations.


  • Discusses a wide range of theories to help understand organizations and change: Readers learn about open-system theory, Capra’s ideas about the life sciences, chaos theory, and issues of social control.
  • Examines both evolutionary and revolutionary organization change, as well as the nature of change: The text discusses different types and levels of change and also emphasizes that organization change is initiated by changing behavior.
  • Illustrates the usefulness of models: Models, including the Burke–Litwin model, help simplify and focus the organizational change effort.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

Chapter 15

For instructors

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