Sample Essay on Transitional and Transformational Change

Transitional and Transformational Change

Bill Clinton once said, ‘The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.’ The concept of change and its uncertainties has, over the years, promoting the development of different approaches to managing them among many businesses. Notably, there are three types of change, which include developmental, transformational, and transitional change. While all these forms are applicable and highly practiced in the modern business world, there are significant differences between transformational and transitional methods of change.

Transitional Change

Transitional change entails alterations that aim at replacing the existing organizational processes with new ones. The method is usually difficult to implement and can course some form of discomfort among employees. Moreover, the foundation of the framework is based on the Lawin three-stage process of change that involves steps such as unfreezing, freezing, and refreezing. The model requires organizations to simultaneously rearrange their old ways of operation and installing new ones in their place (Queensland Government, 2020). However, for such a change to be successful, the management should also promote other modifications, including implementing relevant policies and procedures, improving the organizational structure, and ensuring that they have enough skills and capabilities to support the venture. Considering its magnitude and complexity, it may also affect a firm’s culture, mission, and strategy. Some notable examples of this type of change include simple mergers and acquisitions and new organization information systems. It is therefore advisable for the management of any organization to implement measures such as ensuring clear communication, reassuring staff about the security of their work, providing regular feedback, and capture the contributions and views of all the staff. Therefore, transitional change entails replacing specific areas of an organization and introducing new ones.

Transformational Change

Transformational change, on the other hand, is those that demand total reshaping of an organizational process or strategy, which in most cases, has a significant influence on a firm’s work culture. Primarily, the change may be driven by unexpected changes in the market that do not favor the growth or development of an institution. The model often results in fear, insecurity, and doubt among staff (Hölscher et al., 2018). It is, therefore, important for the management to ensure that proper measures are implemented to limit such effects. Some of the common examples of this type of change include adopting new technology, reforming service and product offerings, introducing cultural or strategic changes as well as making operational changes that affect both demand and supply mechanisms (Anderson & Anderson, 2015). When planning to make any transformational change, the management needs to develop a well-defined communication strategy, have a proper plan to introduce the new system or technology, and to ensure they involve staff in both the planning and decision-making process.

From the explanation of both transitional and transformational changes, it is evident the two approaches have several similarities. For instance, they require the management to involve their staff in planning and implementation, drive forms of improvement in organizations. They may have a significant influence on a firm’s operation mechanisms. The two methods also aim at replacing old methods with more effective and sophisticated methods. They also require proper planning due to their complexity and diverse effects they might have on an organization.

The emergence of different models and modern technology in business has prompted many firms to alter their methods of operation and adapt more sophisticated methods. Every stakeholder must accept change and support mechanisms set to embrace it to ensure that it has positive effects on the institution. The management of an organization must, therefore, understand the effects of both models before developing mechanisms to implement them.


Anderson, D., & Anderson, L. (2015). What is Transformation, and Why Is It So Hard to Manage? – Change Leader’s Network. Retrieved 17 February 2020, from

Hölscher, K., Wittmayer, J. M., & Loorbach, D. (2018). Transition versus transformation: what’s the difference?. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions27, 1-3.

Queensland Government. (2020). Types of change | Business Queensland. Retrieved from