scattered pile of playing cards

Types & Dimensions of Change within Institutions

Change can be beneficial or difficult for an educational institution. This post will look at the types of changes and the various dimensions of change.

Types of Change

There are three common types of change in an institution, and these are structural, technological, and cultural change. Structural change involves revamping the relationship within the organization. This can involve changes to the concentration of power, revising responsibilities, and or enhancing effectiveness. An example would be a larger department divided into two smaller ones.

Technological change is the implementation of new technology within an organization. An example would be schools shifting to online learning because of social distancing requirements. Such a change was incredibly demanding given the short notice of the switch.


Lastly, cultural change involves adjusting the norms and thought patterns of the organization. Changing how people think and do things within an organization is exceedingly difficult. An example of cultural change could be placing emphasis on providing students with feedback if this is something that was neglected in the past. Such a change forces teachers to rethink how they provide academic support to students.

Of course, these changes discussed above can happen alone or in combination with the other types. For example, the shift to online learning was a technological and cultural shift for teachers and even a structural change for many institutions. As such, none of these changes have to happen in a vacuum.

Dimensions of Change

Dimensions of change help us to determine how strong the change will be. The dimensions of change are scope, level, and intentionality. Scope of change is a way to measure the disruption of the change. Change can be incremental, which involves small adjustments such as promoting an individual. Change can be transformational, which entails major disruption of the organization, such as creating a new department. Lastly, change can be strategic, which aligns an organization with its philosophy.

The level of change is a measure of who is involved with the change. Change can take place at the individual, group, or organization level. Individual change is focused on one person, such as a teacher or student. Group change is focused on helping people to work together better and can be done through socialization and other team-building activities. Organizational change affects everybody and can contribute to changes at the group and individual levels.

Intentionality of change indicates the level of planning involved in change. Change can be either planned or unplanned. Planned change was developed with foresight with the goal of implementation. Unplanned change means that nobody saw it coming or that it was extemporaneous.


Change is a complicated concept that can come into an organization in many ways. Even though it is hard to clearly explain all the dynamics of change, it is clear that change is the only constant that all institutions face.

Leave a Reply