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A Comparison of 5 popular Models for Managing Business Change

Jan 2013

Change Management Models- a Comparison

George Box, a statistician, famously wrote that "essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful . The field of change management continues to prove him right. Organizational change management (OCM) is a structured approach in an organization for ensuring that changes are smoothly and successfully implemented, and that the lasting benefits of change are achieved. That is easier said than done. Nevertheless, there are many management consultants, clinical psychologists and social scientists who have carried out extensive research on the dynamics of change and proposed models and frameworks to understand the same. We present here a comparison of five popular models. By no means is this list complete. The complexity and unpredictability of human behavior will ensure that the field of change management will continuously produce more frameworks to study and more models to adopt.

John Kotters Kotters Eights Steps to Change

(1996) eight steps to transforming organizations are based upon analysis of 100 different organizations going through change. His research highlighted eight key lessons which he converted into a practical eight-step model. Although represented by Kotter in a linear fashion, experience suggests that it is better to think of the steps as a continuous cycle to ensure that the momentum of the change is maintained.

Establish a Sense of Urgency

Form a powerful, guiding coalition Plan and create shortterm wins

Develop a vision & Strategy

Communicat e the vision

Remove Obstacles & empower action

Consolidate gains

Anchor in the culture

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Benefits Focus on buy-in of employees as the focus for success Clear steps which can give a guidance for the process Fits well into the culture of classical hierarchies

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Limitations 1. The model is clearly topdown, it gives no room for co-creation or other forms of true participation. 2. Can lead to frustrations among employees if thestages of griefand individual needs are not

Bridges Transition Model

The ideas of Bridges(1991) on transition provide a good understanding of what is going on when an organizational change takes place. He differentiates between change and transition, according to him Change is a situational and happens without people transitioning and transition is psychological and is a three phase process where people gradually accept the details of the new situation and the changes that come with it.

End what used to be; identify who is losing what, openly acknowledge the loss, mark the endings and continuously repeat information about what is changing and why.

Individuals within the organization feel disoriented with falling motivation and increasing anxiety. Ensure that people recognize the neutral zone and treat it as part of the organization's change process.

Gain acceptance of the purpose; Communicate a picture of how the new organization will look and feel ; Communicate and gain a step-by-step understanding of how the organization will change

Benefits 1. You can use the model to understand how people feel as you guide them through change. It clarifies the psychological effect of change.
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Limitations 1. While the model is useful for implementing change, it's not a substitute for other change management approaches. It cant be used as an

Rogers Technology Adoption Curve

The technology adoption lifecycle model, based on his theory of diffusion of innovation(1962), describes the adoption or acceptance of a new product or innovation, according to the demographic and psychological characteristics of defined adopter groups. The process of adoption over time is typically illustrated as a classical normal distribution or "bell curve." The model indicates that the first group of people to use a new product is called "innovators," followed by "early adopters." Next come the early and late majority, and the last group to eventually adopt a product are called "laggards. The curve creates the foundation of 5 step process of technology adoption- Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation, Confirmation

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Benefits 1. Helps in creating an understanding of the audience for change. 2. Provides inputs to identify opinion makers and influencers. 3. 4.

Limitations 1. People need not fall into one Change Adoption Category; they drift from category to category depending on the specific change/innovation. 2. The adoption terms are accurate only in hindsight; they tell you nothing about how a population might respond to a

Kubler- Ross Five Stage Model The Change Curve

The Change Curve is based on a model originally developed in the 1960s by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to explain the grieving process. She proposed that a terminally ill patient would progress through 5 stages of grief when informed of their illness. By the 1980s, the Change Curve was a firm fixture in change management circles. The curve, and its associated emotions, can be used to predict how performance is likely to be affected by the announcement and subsequent implementation of a significant change.

Benefits 1. An individuals reaction to change is well captured, this forms a good foundation to develop communication strategy

Limitations 1. Not all change is bad. This model assumes the worst reaction to change. 2. It is difficult to identify the transition between stages. More More at at : : 3. Difficult to apply to a group

Proscis ADKAR Model

Developed in 1998 by Prosci, after research with more than 300 companies undergoing major change projects. ADKAR is a goal-oriented change management model that allows change management teams to focus their activities on specific business results. The model was initially used as a tool for determining if change management activities like communications and training were having the desired results during organizational change.


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Benefits It encapsulates the business/process dimension of change and the individual dimension of change Provides a clear management checklist to manage change Limitations Misses out on the role of Leadership and principles of programme management to create clarity and provide direction to chnage

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