Change fatigue leaves staff exhausted, burnt out, cynical and ineffective and makes it less likely that the organisation will successfully implement changes.
Organisation change fatigue is where a significant proportion of staff within an organisation are feeling exhausted by continual change. Organisation change fatigue or OC Fatigue is not the same as staff resistance to change, individuals or groups of staff are not against specific proposals but rather apathetic to yet another restructuring/ reorganisation the attitude is one of "oh no not again"or a resigned and cynical "seen it all before". Organisations suffering OC Fatigue are characterised by lots of projects and working groups members of which feel they are generally unproductive and time consuming. Before one set of changes is fully implemented another set are introduced and then another often over turning rather than building on previous changes. There is confusion over priorities. Staff feel overwhelmed by the volume of work and unconvinced by management's claims of urgent need for change.
It is as if a well paced marathon has become 26 one mile sprints.
There is considerable cynicism particularly towards senior management who are regarded as increasingly out of touch, arrogant and intolerant of those who raise concerns. Yet senior managers are not immune they to can become disillusioned and find it increasingly difficult to get enthusiastic or sell the latest efficiency initiative, reorganisation or cultural change programme. Frequent restructuring,mergers, outsourcing and bringing services back in house are a serious distraction for senior management leaving them frustrated and exposed.
In organisations suffering from OC Fatigue front line staff claim that following a restructuring they are hard pushed to say what the disruption has achieved, what has really changed. Changes frequently mean new job titles, new logo, new chief executive but as one cynic put it ," same circus different clowns".