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The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Leadership, Change and Organizational Development by Jonathan Passmore, Arthur M. Freedman, Rachel Lewis, H. Skipton Leonard

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16

Individual Readiness for Organizational Change

Myungweon Choi and Wendy E.A. Ruona

16.1 Introduction

No organization today exists in a stable environment. Current scholars, especially the ­proponents of complexity theories, consider that all organizations are under the influence of multiple changes (Brown & Eisenhardt, 1997; Burnes, 2004a; Stacey et al., 2002; Styhre, 2002; Tetenbaum, 1998). According to these scholars, change is inherent in human action and therefore necessarily occurs in any context of human social interactions (Ford & Ford, 1995). As organizations are sites of continuously evolving human action, they are in a continuous state of change and, in order to survive, must develop the ability to continuously change themselves (Burnes, 2004b; Tsoukas & Chia, 2002).

Organizational leaders are thus continually charged with introducing and implementing various initiatives to change their organizations. The problem is that in reality many change efforts do not result in their intended aims. Specifically, researchers have estimated that at least two-thirds of change projects fail (Beer & Nohria, 2000a, 2000b; Burke & Biggart, 1997; Burnes, 2004c). The cause of many organizations’ inability to achieve the intended aims of their change efforts is often considered an implementation failure, rather than a flaw innate in the change initiative itself (Klein & Sorra, 1996). In particular, failures are often attributed to an organization’s inability to provide for an effective unfreezing ...

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