Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change (Burke and Litwin)

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Transformational Change and Transactional Change. Explanation of the Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change of W. Warner Burke and George H. Litwin. (1992)


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Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change (Burke and Litwin)What is the Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change? Description

Organizational change is a kind of chaos. Like the 7-S Framework by Pascale and Athos, the Burke-Litwin Model integrates a range of factors that provide some guidance to understand how organizations work amidst this chaos. Burke and Litwin go one step further by arguing that there are certain consistent causal linkages among these classes of events. See the figure.

Origin of the Burke-Litwin Model. History

During the 1960s George Litwin and others were thinking on organizational climate. In 1992, Burke and Litwin publish an article in the Journal of Management (Vol. 18, No. 3) in which they add a few factors to the 7-S Framework and combine this with a high-level change process theory, in which certain elements cause changes of other elements.

Usage of the Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change. Applications

  • Analyzing Organizational Change
  • Understanding Organizational Change
  • Managing Organizational Change
  • Predicting Organizational Change

Steps in the Model by Burke and Litwin. Process

Burke and Litwin distinguish between transformational factors (yellow boxes) and transactional factors (green boxes).

  1. Transformational change happens in response to the external environment, which directly affects the mission, strategy, leadership and culture of the organization.
  2. In turn,  the transactional factors are affected: structure, systems, management practices, and work climate.
  3. These transformational and transactional factors together affect motivation, which in turn affects performance.
  4. There is a feedback loop: the organizational performance can directly effect the external environment.

Strengths of the Burke-Litwin Model. Benefits

  • Overview: the framework integrates many major change factors.
  • External environment is the main factor (although not necessarily the starting point).
  • The hierarchy and causality between the elements.
  • The model distinguishes between the set of variables that influence and are influenced by organizational climate (everyday, transactional level) and those influenced by organizational culture (fundamental, transformational level).

Limitations of the Model by Burke and Litwin. Disadvantages

  • The model is a bit complex (although still an oversimplification of the reality).
  • Some organizational changes may be initiated by leadership or by internal factors rather than by the external environment.
Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change Forum
  Questionnaire of the Burke Litwin Model
Does anyone have the 150 questions that accompany the Burke-Litwin model?
I am searching for the complete, original questions.
Also I am interested in any comments/experiences on the use of the questionnaire....
  Burke Litwin Model and Transformational Change
The model is complex but simple to communicate due to the interrationships and myriads of its linkages can be visibly related. Most successful application is usually from the transformational change perspective which drive the transactional change....
  Internal Environment in Burke-Litwin Model
The model is quite complicated but seemingly lack one of the other important element in individual and organizational performance - that of the internal environment which from all indication are the spider-mesh connected blocks.
The inter...
  Complexity Theory and Organizational Change
The Burke-Litwin model shows the characteristics of a complex system. According to complexity theory, complex systems are non-linear, dynamic, adaptive and sensitive to initial conditions. So human organizations as a complex systems do not res...
  Identifying a Trigger for Change
The key element of change is identifying a trigger for change or utilising a crisis to bring about the changes required to be competitive. Linking other management models can be effective e.g. Balanced Scorecard for performance....

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Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change Education & Events

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Leadership Strategies for Change

In response to the high rate of change failure, Ken Blanchard and his team have developed the Blanchard Leading Through Change program, in whic...
Usage (application): Initiate, implement, develop and sustain change

Key Success Factors when you're Designing your Change Management Program

In their article "Making Change Happen, and Making It Stick" (published in the online edition of strategy+business, December 20, 2010), Ashley Harshak...
Usage (application): Best Practices, Change Management, Organizational Change

Assessing the Risks of Change and the Organization’s Capacity for Change

In their book "Transforming Public and Nonprofit Organization – Stewardship for Leading Change", James Edwin Kee and Kathryn E. Newcomer argue that th...
Usage (application): Leading Change

Strategic Change: Why, What, When, Who and How

If we need to change strategically, we need to think about why, what, when, who and how:
- Why do we want to change? - the constraints imp...
Usage (application): Preparing Strategic Change

The Importance of Culture in Organizational Performance

John Connolly, former CEO of Deloitte UK, argues that one of the most critical determinants of organizational performance is culture. Culture refers t...
Usage (application): Organizational Culture, Corporate Culture, Employee Behavior, Organizational Performance

Resources - Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change Premium

Professor Evans Explains Why Fast Change Requires New Ways of Learning and Thinking

In this historic video Action Learning Professor Reg Evans shows that it is very important to understand that today's rate of change (C) is exponentia...
Usage (application): Action Learning, Coping with Change, The Need of Change, The Need for New Ways of Learning

Managing Organizational Change

This is a presentation about the ways to manage change. The presentation includes the following sections:
1. Introduction
2. Change accordin...
Usage (application): Change Management, Leading Change, Organizational Development

Congruence Model

An earlier, more simple systems model was the Congruence Model by David A. Nadler and Michael L. Tushman (1980).
The Congruence Model is ...
Usage (application): Nadler-Tushman Model

Burke Litwin Model Diagram

Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in intranets, websites, books, ma...
Usage (application): Organizational Change


Causal Change Burke Litwin


Organizational Change Burke Litwin


Causal Change Burke Litwin


Organizational Change Burke Litwin


Causal Change Burke Litwin


Organizational Change Burke Litwin


Causal Change Burke Litwin


Organizational Change Burke Litwin

Compare with the Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change: 7-S Framework  |  Dimensions of Change  |  Ashridge Mission Model  |  Catalytic Mechanisms  |  Chaos Theory  |  Change Phases  |  Six Change Approaches

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