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9 Examples of Transformational Change

Transformational change is a structural change that impacts everyone in an organization and entails significant risks. This term isn't applied to large projects such as a system implementation that don't fundamentally transform a business model or operating model. The following are illustrative examples of transformational change.

Mergers & Acquisitions

The process of integrating two or more firms. This is transformational change unless you are acquiring a firm that is very small in comparison to you.


Restructuring is a broad term for major changes to your organizational chart. For example, a firm that gets rid of its information technology department by integrating these functions into business units.


A retrenchment is a restructuring that dramatically reduces business volumes. For example, closing a factory, department or division of a company.


Turnaround is the practice of leading an organization that is failing. This often involves completely replacing management and questioning every assumption upon which the organization is built.


The process of breaking up a company or spinning off a business unit as its own firm. In some cases, this unlocks significant value. In other cases, monopolies are forced to break up by government action. For example, a telecom company that is forced to spin-off its media businesses because the firm has engaged in anti-competitive practices by leveraging its internet infrastructure to harm other media companies.


The process of assigning work or entire business processes to external partners. This is often a gradual process but can also be done as a transformational change. For example, a bank that sells all of its data centers to an outsourcing partner.

Culture Shift

The difficult process of shifting a culture. Cultures can't be changed directly because they emerge through the shared experiences of groups. As such, changing them can be a turbulent process. For example, changing a culture of promotion based on seniority or identity factors to be a meritocracy would typically involve significant resistance to change that requires an accomplished change management team.

Business Model Transformation

Changing the way that a firm creates and captures value. For example, a farm that transforms itself to be an agritourism business.

Crisis Management

The process of managing a crisis can result in transformational change. For example, a bank that suddenly has its entire firm working from home due to a disaster such that it undergoes a major culture shift.
Overview: Transformational Change
A structural change that impacts everyone in an organization and entails significant risks.
Related Concepts

Change Management

This is the complete list of articles we have written about change management.
Agents Of Change
Anticipating Objections
Bias For Action
Big Bang Adoption
Business Change
Business Stakeholders
Business Transformation
Change Agent
Change Analysis
Change Characteristics
Change Drivers
Change Fatigue
Change Impact
Change Management
Change Plan
Change Planning
Change Principles
Change Process
Change Readiness
Change Resistance
Change Risk
Change Strategy
Choice Architecture
Communication Mgmt
Contingency Planning
Emergent Change
Goal Setting
Impact Analysis
Initial Excitement
Lessons Learned
Message Framing
Nudge Theory
Organizing Principle
Resistance To Change
Revenue Impact
Scope Creep
Status Quo
Turnaround Management
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