Tough economic conditions, combined with phenomenal shifts in the nature of organisational work itself (for instance the emergence of the 4th Industrial Revolution), strain the organisational world in various ways, the worst of which are company failures (such as bankruptcies and closures), restructurings (read redundancies, retrenchments, and so on), and of course, the spectre of unemployment. We do not exaggerate when we call these kinds of organisational change traumatic. We accept that organisations need to do what they must to survive, where they can, and in the current economic climate traumatic change is to a large extent unavoidable. The impact of this kind of change is multidimensional, complex and long-lasting.
How do we, as organisational leaders, members and practitioners, navigate traumatic organisational change? How do we respond to this kind of change in ways that are ethical and responsible, effective and healing? How do we support organisational communities while they are breaking up (because this is what happens during retrenchments), those who are no longer part of the organisational community, and the re-making of organisational community with those that remain?
What are the individual and organisational risks and challenges that we need to face?
What do leaders, HR, change managers need to navigate change and sustain performance in their organisations in times like these, in such ways that pain is transformed into healing, and challenge is transformed into growth, for all involved?