In the organizational setting, planned change is intentional, while unplanned change is spontaneous. The results of planned change are expected, while unplanned change brings unexpected results. While many organizations are ready to deal with the challenges of planned change, unplanned change can often be chaotic.
One of the major differentiating traits of planned and unplanned change is the source of the change. Planned change emanates from within the company, usually from the management, while unplanned change is influenced by external factors outside of the organization's control.
Planned change occurs when the management makes a conscious decision to implement new ideas in the organization. Economic and market fluctuations, political changes, weather changes and competition can lead to unplanned change as can internal problems such as sudden resignations and machine failure.
Organizations deal with planned and unplanned change in different ways. In planned change, organizations anticipate any challenges that may occur and have a list of solutions to address them. If unplanned change occurs, organizations must improvise and devise solutions — often within a short period of time. Unplanned change brings more upheaval to the structure of an organization than planned change. It may take longer for an organization to deal with the effects of unplanned change than planned change.