Accession Number:



Organizational Change: An Examination of the Past to Prepare for the Future

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Leaders within the US Army regularly discuss change and attempt to execute organizational change but with unpredictable results. Unfortunately, there is limited information within US Army doctrine to described how leaders should plan and execute organizational change. The doctrine suggests that leaders should use a closed system sequential process like John Kotters 8-Step Change Model. The problem with this approach is that organizations are open systems that rely on continuous interaction with the external environment to survive. A closed system approach fails to take into consideration the numerous variables that could influence the change process. This monograph begins by examining the shortcomings with the US Armys doctrine and education on organizational change. These shortcomings then justify evaluating the need to consider other organizational change theories. The Burke-Litwin Model of Organization Performance and Change is a proven open system theory that leaders use to evaluate and implement revolutionary large system change. The Burke-Litwin model then serves as the framework to assess the US Armys successful organizational change after the Vietnam War to AirLand Battle. The case study demonstrates that large scale revolutionary change requires audacious leaders who develop and adapt the organizations mission and culture based on the continuous interaction with the external environment. Organizational change is inherently a complex process that requires more than a checklist to successfully complete. This monograph proposes that the US Army update their doctrine and education to include open systems theory when presenting organizational change. The revision will enhance the cognitive abilities of the Armys organizational leaders and better prepare them to plan and execute change initiatives.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Administration and Management

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]