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The Psychology of Organizational Change

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Leaders today must understand and apply the knowledge of behavioral psychology and the lessons from brain science to manage organizational change successfully. In the past, efforts at organizational change focused on the structural aspects of organizations have systematically failed because they have neglected the reality that change doesn't happen without individual people changing their thinking, beliefs and behavior.

In an article in the McKinsey Quarterly, Emily Lawson and Colin Price argue that change success in large organizations depends on persuading hundreds or thousands of groups and individuals to change the way they work, a transformation people will accept only if they can be persuaded to think differently about their jobs. In effect, CEOs must alter the mind-sets of their employees-no easy task.

I would add to their conclusion that individuals in organizations, to embrace change, must also engage in a process that changes how they think about themselves, not just their job.