Change is an accepted consequence of modern life. Change has become the single definitive business mantra. We can view this change in terms of cyclical change and evolutionary change. Cyclical change involves repetitive and often predictable variation. Evolutionary change involves more fundamental change. This can mean a sudden innovation or a gradual creeping process. Either way the result could have drastic consequences for strategic development.

Strategic management is concerned with moving the organization to a desired future state. The concept of change is important to address as an integral part of strategy. We can examine this in terms of questions:

Which drives change?

How does the change affect your market/business environment?

What is the effect of the change in the organization's strategy?

Drivers of change

Consistently existing products and ways of doing things are being rapidly displaced by a combination of competitor actions and changing customer needs. This disparity is being driven by political, economic, social (e.g. demographics) and technological factors.

Effect of change

Change means you need to redefine your market. Rapid growth is still possible in some industries, but many will have to accept that the days of incremental annual growth are over. Differences in consumer habits and demographic patterns mean traditional markets are becoming more challenging. Change is accompanied by intense competition which can only intensify the phenomenon of business globalization.

Result of change

There are two main results. The first in practice is that change creates opportunity. Organizations that are flexible and in tune with customer needs are not only likely to survive, they are likely to thrive. Second is that past actions, policies and practices are no guarantee of future success. There is a need to guard against complacency and ensure that the strategic thrust of the organization does not deviate from the real needs of the market.

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