To recapitulate, there are at least four basic definitions of change management:
1. The task of managing change (from a reactive or a proactive posture)
2. An area of professional practice (with considerable variation in competency and skill levels among practitioners)
3. A body of knowledge (consisting of models, methods, techniques, and other tools)
4. A control mechanism (consisting of requirements, standards, processes and procedures).
Content and Process .
Organizations are highly specialized systems and there are many different schemes for grouping and classifying them. Some are said to be in the retail business, others are in manufacturing, and still others confine their activities to distribution. Some are profit-oriented and some are not for profit. Some are in the public sector and some are in the private sector. Some are members of the financial services industry, which encompasses banking, insurance, and brokerage houses. Others belong to the automobile industry, where they can be classified as original equipment manufacturers (OEM) or after-market providers. Some belong to the health care industry, as providers, as insureds or as insurers. Many are regulated, some are not. Some face stiff competition, some do not. Some are foreign-owned and some are foreign-based. Some are corporations, some are partnerships, and some are sole proprietorships. Some are publicly held and some are privately held. Some have been around a long time and some are newcomers. Some have been built up over the years while others have been pieced together through mergers and acquisitions. No two are exactly alike.
The preceding paragraph points out that the problems found in organizations, especially the change problems, have both a content and a process dimension. It is one thing, for instance, to introduce a new claims processing system in a functionally organized health insurer. It is quite another to introduce a similar system in a health insurer that is organized along product lines and market segments. It is yet a different thing altogether to introduce a system of equal size and significance in an educational establishment that relies on a matrix structure. The languages spoken differ. The values differ. The cultures differ. And, at a detailed level, the problems differ. However, the overall processes of change and change management remain pretty much the same, and it is this fundamental similarity of the change processes across organizations, industries, and structures that makes change management a task, a process, and an area of professional practice.