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Proactive vs. Reactive Changes

“Organizational change can occur by choice (proactive) or by force (reactive).” Proactive change happens when changes are implemented “to avoid possible issues or to capitalize on a future opportunity.” Reactive change occurs “in response to an issue or opportunity that has occurred” (Weiss, 2016).

Example of proactive change: A company that utilizes a self-evaluation program “to analyze its productivity, efficiency, worker morale and other areas that bear improving” (Mack, n.d.). This is a perfect example of an organization proactively implementing change in the workplace to avoid potential issues later down the line. Being proactive typically puts a company ahead of the competition.

Example of reactive change: A company that does nothing to improve productivity and cost until they are faced with an economic crisis (Mack, n.d.). When companies ignore potential problems or fail at anticipating potential issues they put themselves at risk, and allow proactive organizations (competitors) to surpass them.

How could this information be useful to an organization?

Leaders of organizations should know, that according to studies, a reactive leadership style is “neither positive nor beneficial in the short or long term” for the company or stakeholders (Weiss, 2016). Proactive leadership is not only more effective but preferred because it fosters solutions before there are even problems. Reactive leaders are frantic, unprepared, and often lack perspective. On the other hand, proactive leaders are mindful, organized, and prepared for potential threats (Weiss, 2016). A proactive leadership style can increase a company’s reputation, social standing, and financial worth, while also putting them far ahead of their competition.


Mack, S. (n.d.). Being Proactive Vs. Reactive. Retrieved from

Weiss, J. (2016). Organizational Change Second Edition [Electronic Version]. Retrieved from

The Stakeholder Approach is an effective approach to organizational change.  What this approach does in take into consideration how the changes to an organization will affect stakeholders before, during and after the implementation as well as the values and ethics of the organization.  (Weiss, 2016).  A stakeholder, as defined by Freeman, “is any group or individual that can affect or is affected by the achievement of organization’ objectives”.  This includes those that work for or with the company as well as those in the company’s community and any organization that the company assist.  Stakeholder Approach causes the organization to stop focusing on the profits to be earned right now but to instead focus on the long-term success of the organization.  (Scott, 2017).

This approach would be beneficial to an organization that is looking to making transitional or transformational changes.  When making large scale changes it not only affects the employees but it also affects vendors, creditors, shareholders and even the community.  Some large scale changes mean moving to a new location which could adversely affect the area the company is leaving or the one it is moving into.  Will the move cause people to lose their jobs or have to commute longer distances?  What will the shipping costs be and how will that affect the price of the products?  Is the company expanding into the global market?  Who will be the overseas supplies?  These are just a couple of questions that could come up.  Using the Stakeholder Approach will help answer these types of questions as well as provide feedback on the feasibility of the expected change.  Gathering data from all possible avenues before implementing a change will provide a higher rate of success, Stakeholder Approach seems to be the best way to gather that information.


Weiss, J.W. (2016). Organizational Change (2nd ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved from

Scott, Grygor.  2017.  The Concepts, Evidence & Implications of the Stakeholder Theory of a Corporation.  Retrieved from: 

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