What is Organizational Change?

Organizational Change is the process by which an organization might alter its structure, culture, strategies or a number of other elements in order to influence change in either one facet or many facets of their operations. Often, organizational change is utilized in order to solve a problem, or operational failure - according to the carnegie school of thought. In these instances, organizations identify a specific problem or series of problems, and determine a plan of action to alter processes in order to rectify the specified problem.

Explore online EdD programs and jumpstart your career in organizational change and leadership.

Types of Organizational Change

There are a variety of different ways organizational change can occur within an organization, and at all levels of operations. From the CEO down to the entry-level workers, implementation of organizational change can include alterations to any facet of processes. Here are some examples of the types of organizational change that may be employed by an organization in need:


A shift in the culture of an organization, resulting in an overhaul of the underlying strategies and operations the organization had employed in the past.


Either a single, or multiple small adjustments that are made to affect change without overhauling all of the organization's existing processes and strategies (i.e. utilizing new CMS software).


Typically undertaken in order to evolve an organization into a different level in their life-cycle (i.e. from a start-up to a fully-fledged enterprise).


A change that occurs at a micro level and does not involve a company or organization-wide shift in strategy and vision.


When the organization recognizes a need for a change and proactively charts out a timeline for accomplishing this change.


An organization-wide reaction to a crisis or unexpected occurrence, such as a company reacting to a sudden burst of bad publicity.

Where is Organizational Change Practiced?

Realistically, organizational change is practiced in almost every sort of organization or institution imaginable. Educational institutions from pre-school to collegiate level, small shops to large corporations, and many other organizations are all commonly asked to employ organizational change in a variety of ways. For example, a large corporation might experience an unplanned organizational change when they are forced to deal with a public relations crisis and must adapt to their new environment. Any successful enterprise, be it a top tier-university or a bookshop in a small town, must be knowledgeable about organizational change in order to best prepare to keep up with rapidly changing customs, policies, and procedures.

Organizational Change Degree Programs

Organizational Change, Organizational Change and Leadership, or Learning and Organizational Change advanced degrees have been cropping up more and more over the past years, as organizations begin to place more of an emphasis on adaptability and efficiency. Although commonly OCL degree programs may be associated with business and/or considered complementary to an MBA program, there are also programs readily available in the space of education doctoral degrees. In EdD degrees that focus on organizational change, students take courses designed to prepare them to become transformative leaders in a field of their choosing - be it an educational institution or a private corporation.

Examples of two EdD Programs with a specific emphasis on organizational change are outlined below:


USC's Online EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership

The online Doctor of Education (EdD) in Organizational Change and Leadership program from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares candidates to influence change in educational environments and a range of organizations. The program blends face-to-face online classes with immersive experiences, enabling you to gain the skills needed for leadership positions without leaving your job or relocating. A master’s degree is not required.

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Baylor University's Online EdD in Learning and Organizational Change

Delivered online by Baylor University’s School of Education, the EdD in Learning and Organizational Change prepares students to apply essential learning principles toward managing the dynamics of organizational change. The program is designed for experienced educators and learning and development professionals interested in influencing positive change in school systems, corporations, governmental or non-governmental agencies, and community programs.

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What Can I do with a Degree in Organizational Change?

Careers in the Education Sector: After graduating with a degree in a field related to organizational change, such as an EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership, one can pursue a variety of career options - many of which exist within the world of education. Examples of leadership careers within the education sector might include administrative officer at a university, upper administration in a school or district, or even a position as a professor. An EdD in Organizational change sets students up nicely for success leading the way in innovation in education.

Careers in the Business Sector: Another viable career option for experts in organizational change is in the business world - at almost any level imaginable. From consulting with firms in how to best alter their operations to better suit their needs to transforming your small business into a fully-fledged enterprise, educating yourself in organizational change is a great way to set yourself apart from a crowded world of business students.