Planned Change, Event Change and Emergent Change®

Everything included in this blog site is under trademark, 2017. We appreciate your honoring and respecting such. Nothing can be printed or used in any way without written (not email) permission by Patrick A. Trottier, The Institute of Emergent Organizational Development and Emergent Change® (The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. As of January 2019, the Convention has 177 contracting member countries).

Often I am asked, what is the difference between emergence in ‘event change’ and Emergent Organizations®.

It is a good question.

First let’s review Emergent Change®:

What is Emergent Change®?


“Emergent change is the continuous forming of influencing patterns that
continually create real-time change.”  (Trottier, 1995)

Certain elements are shaping the patterns on the right formation like wind patterns, air moisture, ground formation, different temperatures at low and high atmospheres, barometric pressure, etc.

Will it form into a tornado, or dissipate into blue skies?

What are the influencing patterns?
What are their relationships to each other as a whole system?

The following ‘simple’ diagram shows how ’emergent change’ occurs.

How emrgent change occurs


Emergence In Closed Systems

Key sentence below: “Closed systems create and adapt to ‘conditions within prescribed conditions’ to sustain their form, equilibrium and homeostasis for self-preservation.”



Emergence In Open Systems

Key sentences below: “Open systems shift their forms, boundaries and processes as their environments shift. Open systems better preserves themselves in complex and rapidly changing environments.”


Planned Change, Event Change and Emergent Change®

“The dance may change but the song stays the same.”

Planned change and ‘change management models’ are mostly step-wise linear models in which the organization has to fit into.

Special ‘event change’ workshops, as they are called in OD, occur once in a while to fix something, to change something, or to improve something.

The organization does not ‘transform’ – it ‘corrects’ to another static position, or improves within its prescribed boundaries.

Some examples of ‘event change’ approaches:

  • Problem-Solving Processes
  • Dialogic OD methods and tools
  • Continuous Improvement Initiatives
  • Business Process Improvement (BPI) Initiatives
  • Strategic Planning
  • etc….

Most change management ‘programs’ and ‘event workshops’ seem to be always ‘behind the eight ball’ (reactive) and becomes another ‘here we go again’ project, and is merely added to the list of ‘to dos’.
‘Event change’ is many times referred to as ‘the shotgun approach’.

This is 20th Century thinking.




I hope this somewhat explains the difference between ‘event change’ and ‘Emergent Organizations®.

There is a big difference.

‘Event change’ may actually reinforce the current state, form, equilibrium and homeostasis for self-preservation of the organization to preserve its form and function.

The actual power structures and fabric of the organization do not continually evolve – such moves to another ‘static position’.

EODC® and Emergent Change® transforms the organizational capability to continually shift their forms, boundaries and processes as a continuous emerging entity as their environments shift to better preserves itself in complex and rapidly changing environments.

As the old OD saying says:

“The dance may change but the song stays the same.”

To view a video on ‘Emergent Change®’, please go to:

You Tube: 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Patrick A. Trottier
Emergent Organizational Development®
Emergent Organizational Development and Change®
































About Patrick A. Trottier

I am a 30 plus year applied Organizational Development practitioner having honed my craft in the U.S., Canada and internationally. Presently living in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., I am currently developing the next evolution of O.D. termed; 'Emergent Organizational Development and Emergent Change® (EODC)®, and focusing on Emergent OD®, Emergent Change® and the development of Emergent Organizations® within my professional practice.
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