The Burke-Litwin Organizational Change Framework: A Simple Summary
The Burke-Litwin organizational change framework is a causal change model that seeks to show where change arises and how it flows between different parts of organizations. The model shows links between 12 strategic, operational and individual factors.
Summary by The World of Work Project
The Burke-Litwin Change Model
The Burke-Litwin change model is an organizational change model. It says that there are 12 key factors that organizations must consider when assessing change. The model groups these factors into different levels.
At the most macro level there are external factors. At the next level down are strategic factors, which include organizational culture. These are followed by operating factors and individual factors, before we reach the most micro factor grouping which is output.
Within this model the interconnected nature of the factors is shown to be somewhat determined by the level of the factors. For example, the strategic factors are most impacted by the external factors and the operating factors, the factor levels that they are sandwiched between.
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It’s worth noting that there’s a lot of discussion and challenge around organizational change theories. We have several podcasts exploring this, including this one which takes a critical approach to process models of change:
We like The Burke-Litwin Organizational Change Framework as a way to think about organizations and the factors that affect them and the changes within them. The systemic and interconnected nature of the model is helpful. We think it goes some way towards capturing the complexity of changing systems.
We are, however, of the view that change really can originate from anywhere within an organization, and we also believe that there are more interconnections than are shown in this model. These, though, are minor points.
In summary, we like the model and think it shows some useful things, but also think organizations are more complex than implied through this model.
Our Podcast is a great way to learn more about hundreds of fascinating topics from around the world of work.
The contents of this post have been based on interpretations of Burke and Litwin’s original article on the subject “A Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change” as published in the Journal of Management in 1992. You can access the paper here.
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