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PA Germany’s change management survey

"The management of talent should be about taking a systematic view of all strategically important capabilities and one’s capacity in each of these, both now and into the future."

Jonathon Hogg, Editor of changes magazine, PA Consulting Group


"Learning from Darwin: Chameleons and Dinosaurs – how change capability can help organisations cope better with crisis"

PA Consulting Group’s change management survey, carried out in cooperation with the Association for Organisation e. V. (GfO), has been inspired by Darwin’s anniversary and focuses on the change capability of organisations.  

What is the situation?

In a highly competitive market and unpredictable environment, companies need to stay one step ahead of their competitors – following Darwin’s principle of “survival of the fittest”. Change is no longer a one-off event; it has become an inherent part of day to day business. Especially in the current economic crisis, organisations face multiple challenges, which should also influence their approach to managing change.

What is the purpose?

The purpose of the study was to investigate one of the most important success factors for innovation change capability of organisations – in leading organisations in Germany. The participant group consisted of 70% people in leading positions and 30%people in non-leading positions.

What are the key findings? 

  • Focusing on innovation was identified as the most promising strategy to cope with the current crisis. Meanwhile the drivers for change initiatives have not changed significantly: process optimisation, restructuring and cost reduction projects dominate.

  • Significant gap between participants’ ideal approach for managing the crisis with what is happening within organisations in reality.

  • Typically low change capability

  • Lack of processes and structures that foster change capability by providing transparent information, learning from mistakes and degrees of freedom.

  • Change-friendly organisations typically implement their change initiatives with 10% higher success rates compared to less ‘change-capable’ organisations

  • Although systematic change management clearly helps to foster and develop a better organisational change capability – for some companies it is still seen as optional

  • The majority of participants think that the importance of good change management will increase due to this crisis.

  • High organisational change capability correlates with an integrated change management approach - which highlights the importance of anchoring Change Management within organisational structures and processes.

How to benefit?

Assuming that the typical drivers for change remain a challenge for organisations in the future, investing in an organisation’s capability to change is clearly both sensible and necessary. It will be important to develop leadership and employee competences for managing change, and also to create a company culture which embraces change as a natural phenomenon through its organisational structures, processes and tools.

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