Change Readiness Defined
One of the best evidence-based definitions of change readiness is:
an individual's beliefs, attitudes, and intentions regarding the extent to which changes are needed and the organization's capacity to successfully undertake those changes. (Rafferty, Jimmieson, & Armenakis, 2012)
What I really like is how they incorporated "beliefs" into the concept. If you don't know him, Achilles Armenakis is one of the finest change commitment researchers alive; he's out of Auburn and has published a ton of studies on change commitment in the last 20 years. Many of us practitioners write off all academics; the reality is some of them are very pragmatic.
OK. We've administered a change readiness assessment. We now know who is ready and who isn't. That will benefit implementation planning. At some point, however, we need to implement. (whether the organization is ready or not)
What happens after the launch or go-live date?
It's a little bit like determining how ready a bride or groom is for a wedding. After the honeymoon is over, what next? Will assessing their "readiness to get married" help them move ahead?
Change Reactions - Missing Link
Armenakis (with Oreg & Vakola) published a comprehensive review (60 years worth) of what he calls "change recipients' reactions to organizational change." What I most love about this concept is that it discards us change agents and focuses the people who matter most: frontline employees and managers. Second, the study provides a conceptual bridge from change readiness (pre-change) to change implementation (post-change).
Here is an illustration of the concept:
If your organization would like to participate in this research, visit www.ChangeStudy.com
Oreg, S., Vakola, M., & Armenakis, A. (2011). Change recipients' reactions to organizational change: A 60-year review of quantitative studies. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 47(4), 461-524.
Rafferty, A. E., Jimmieson, N. L., & Armenakis, A. A. (2012). Change readiness: A multilevel review. Journal of Management, [On-line], doi: 10.1177/0149206312457417