Organizational Capacity for Change

Cite this article as:"Organizational Capacity for Change," in The Business Professor, updated April 24, 2020, last accessed December 4, 2020,

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What is an Organization’s Capacity for Change?

Organizational capacity for change entails the organization’s preparedness and ability to respond to situations requiring change. It is comprised of three elements:

An organization’s capacity for change is measured along eight dimensions:

  • Dimension 1: Trustworthy Leaders – To what extent is the leader trustworthy? Trustworthiness is the ability to rely on an individual to pursue objectives that are consistent with their beliefs.
  • Dimension 2: Trusting Followers – To what extent are the members and stakeholders of the organization trusting in the leader?
  • Dimension 3: Capable Change Champions (“Change Agents”) – To what extent are change agents present? What is their level of proactiveness and influence?
  • Dimension 4: Involved Middle Managers – “Unsponsored” middle managers provide support, stability, and sell the idea of change. They facilitate information flow, adaptability, and are crucial in the process of implementing the elements of change.
  • Dimension 5: Systems Thinking – To what extent do all participants in the process engage in system thinking? Systems thinking concerns how the whole affects its parts and how the parts affect the whole.
  • Dimension 6: Communication Systems – How effective is communication up, down, and throughout the organization?
  • Dimension 7: Accountable Culture – To what extent are leaders, managers, and employees obliged or willing to accept responsibility for one’s actions.
  • Dimension 8: Innovative Culture – To what extent do employees demonstrate creativity and imagination in developing new ideas, combining existing ideas in new ways, and effectuating those ideas.

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