The World of Work Project

The Burke-Litwin Organizational Change Framework

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 model is an organizational change model which says that organizations have 12 key factors that need to be considered when assessing change. These factors are grouped into different levels of factors. At the most macro level there are external factors. At the next level down are strategic factors, 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.

The World of Work Project View

We like the Burke-Litwin framework as a way to think about organizations and the factors that affect them and the changes within them. We like the semi-systemic approach that the model takes and the relational nature of it.

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.

Sources and further reading

Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.

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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