The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with saying “Change is the only constant”, a very true statement that indicates that change is always happening and failure to comply with change is detrimental. Change in an organization is essential to keep the organization abreast, vibrant, and capable of dealing with external changes that affect the organization. There are several models of change that an organization could chose to pursue, and the choice is based on the type of organization it is, the type of change in question, and the type of people that would need to embrace the change (“Lewin's Change Management Model,” n.d.). The three common models of change that most organizations use when implementing change are Lewis Change Management Model, ADKAR, and Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model.
Kurt Lewin is credited as having developed the Lewis Change Management model in the 1950s (Normandin, 2012). The main idea with this management model is take the existing system, have it in a form that allows change, make the change, then allow for the change to take form. The three steps in the model are unfreeze, transition, and refreeze (Normandin, 2012). The unfreeze stage is where the status quo is broken down, and this is done by showing the necessity of change in the organization to encourage the members of the organization to embrace the change (“Lewin's Change Management Model,” n.d.). For this step to be successful, the beliefs and values of the members of the organization have to be challenged and changed (“Lewin's Change Management Model,” n.d.). Once the members have bought into the idea of change and are willing to make the change, the next step is transition. This involves changing the way people carry out tasks. This step takes a long time and needs careful orchestration. Time and communication are vital for a successful transition stage (“Lewin's Change Management Model,” n.d.). Once the transition is completed, the members of the organization learn and embrace the new ways of carrying tasks; refreeze. This is where the new system is instilled and becomes the new status quo.
Another model of change is ADKAR. It was first published in 2003, and it is an acronym meaning Awareness for the need for change, Desire to support and participate in the change, Knowledge of how to change, Ability to implement the change, and Reinforcement to sustain the change (Connelly, 2008-2015). The acronym defines the steps in this model. The first step is knowing that something needs to be done. The second step is the willingness to do what needs to be done to bring about change. The third step is knowing how to do that which needs to be done. The fourth step is being able to implement the changes that have been decided. The fifth and final step is setting up a system that allows the changes to flourish. Of all the models of change, the ADKAR is the model that targets individuals in an organization (Connelly, 2008-2015).
The other common model of change is the Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model. Harvard University John Kotter is credited with developing this model in 1995 (“Kotter's 8-Step Change Model,” n.d.). The 8 steps in this model are “increase the urgency for change, build a team dedicated to change, create the vision for change, communicate the need for change, empower staff with the ability to change, create short term goals, stay persistent, and make the change permanent (Normandin, 2012). This model is based on leaders communicating to the members of the organization the need for change and having the members join in the move towards change. Like the Lewin's Change Management Model it is said to be an easy model to follow, but takes a long time (Normandin, 2012).
All the models discussed above are applicable in different situations. It is up to the leaders of an organization to decide which model fits best with the organization and the change needed.
Connelly, M. (2008-2015). ADKAR: Simple, Powerful, Action Oriented Model for Change.
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Lewin's Change Management Model: Understanding the Three Stages of Change. (n.d.).
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Normandin, B. (2012). Three Types of Change Management Models. The Fast Track. Retrieved