Change Management Theories and Models

Change Management Theories and Models

Change Management Theories: The world has changed dramatically over the last few decades. You are now ready to enter the field of change management. It’s not a simple job. As technology and philosophies change rapidly, you can make this easier and save time by being a change manager. Change management theories and models continue to play a vital role in these practices. But you have a calling. How do you know the different change management theories and models?

Professionals use many theories and methods of managing change, each with its own merits and problems. You can build something customized to your needs and organizational needs. But it would help if you based it on scientific principles.

Let’s look at three of the most popular change management theories and models and see which one best fits your thinking. While I will point out my favorite, you might prefer a different model than me. That’s okay.

What are the best change management theories and models?

Many change management theories and models exist, particularly in this age of digital transformation and digital change. 

Change management models can include theories that

  • Discuss group psychology and group dynamics
  • Describe processes and procedures
  • Offer step-by-step action plans

successful change management

We’ll be discussing the top three theories for change management, i.e., what they are, the details of each, and why they are essential.

Three (3) of The Best Change Management Theories and Models

Practitioners of change can use models and principles to manage their work. These models provide the tools needed to help change managers succeed in organizational changes.

The best ones include:

  • The ideas are grounded in psychology, business, or social dynamics.
  • Frameworks that serve as a lens to help practitioners understand why they do the things they do
  • Action plans that you can implement to do effect changes

We’ll soon discover the below-mentioned change models are precise. They have a deep understanding of change theory and real-world research. They are helpful because they apply these ideas to the context of an organization.

Let’s begin by looking at the oldest model of change management:

Kurt Lewin’s Three Phase Change Model

Lewin, a German American psychologist, was a pioneer in social psychology and change management principles. He developed the Lewin model.

Although his change model is simple, it’s powerful because of its simplicity.

He says that every change follows a 3-step process. It starts with changing your mindset.

These steps are:

  • Unfreezing – A process must first move away from its current condition. It is necessary to overcome inertia and bypass defense mechanisms.
  • Transition – This is the second stage of change. This stage can be fraught with uncertainty and confusion. It isn’t always easy to see the end goal.
  • Freezing – This is the last stage of transition. It involves changing old ways of thinking. This stage is when people return to their comfort zones and feel more at ease with the new status quo.

This model is ancient and takes a lot of time to fight resistance. It’s also a fixed-cycle step that has been largely abandoned in modern times. It’s still the grandfather of many other theories and deserves its place on this list.

Kotter’s 8-Step Model for Change

This one is my favorite, and many others agree. John Kotter’s change management model comprises eight steps.


The Eight Steps:

  • Instill a sense of urgency
  • Create a guiding alliance
  • Create a strategic vision.
  • Enlist a volunteer army
  • Remove barriers to enable action
  • Short-term wins are possible
  • Sustain acceleration
  • Institute change

This change model is helpful for those who want more than just theory–they want a framework to follow.

It’s easy to use, simple, and easy to map out. It is easy to follow and implement because it is a map.

John Kotter is well-known for his unique approach. You can find information about this theory on the website of his consultancy.

Prosci’s ADKAR Model

Another change management theory is the ADKAR model. It serves as both a roadmap and an execution plan.

It comprises five stages:

  • Awareness of the need for change
  • Supporting change is what you want
  • How to Change
  • Ability to show skills or behavior
  • To make the change stick, reinforce

Prosci ADKAR change management model is like Kotter’s, and it is perfect for change managers who are looking for theory and application.

Jeff Hiatt invented the theory, and he is the founder of Prosci. It offers consulting services and teaches the ADKAR method to students today.

Prosci offers workshops that will help you learn how to apply this model and change management certifications.

Change Theories Are Used

Two models in the above list take theory and apply it. We can see that Kotter’s model, and ADKAR, are very similar to Lewin’s.

Every model begins by letting go of any previous ideas.

We then take a series of actions to help people transition to a new life.

It is what most change managers want – to apply change theory within their organizations.

However, it is possible to use a different change framework.

How to Select a Change Management Framework

How do you choose the right change management strategy for you? It all depends on what type of organizational change you’re attempting.

Change Management Models for Cultural Change

You should consider a framework that addresses employees’ emotional needs if your change is more cultural. When trying to change an organization’s culture, the Kubler-Ross Change Curve and Satir Model, ADKAR and Bridges’ Transition Model make excellent choices.

Change Management Models for Structural Change

Structural changes can create logistical and emotional problems. It is best to combine the models for cultural change. You can do this with a system that includes more concrete steps for planning and organizing change-related activities. Consider Kotter’s Theory or Lewin’s Change Management Model.

Change Management Models for Procedural Change

You must first evaluate the situation and then adjust as you go. McKinsey’s 7-S Model or PDSA Cycle can be good options because they require you to look at your current situation and plan what needs to change. For procedural changes, Kotter’s Theory or Lewin’s Change Management Model can be a good fit. Anything you do, need a complete Checklist.

Final Words

These three models of change management have tremendous implications in real life. Although Lewin’s model is relatively simple, it might not be suitable for current business instability. However, the fundamental element of change is still there. The eighth models of Kotter and ADKAR look very similar. Kotter’s model is more focused on the shift; ADKAR, however, focuses on the individual.

Kotter’s model seems to cover almost all aspects of change. This model not only outlines the need for change but also explains how to implement it. It encourages teamwork and communication. It also mentions empowering essential staff. This model is more beneficial for institutions than it is for individuals.

A Professional Blogger, Author and Brand Marketing Consultant! Avenue Sangma is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and worked with Different kind of companies in his field. Fountainhead of, Also travelling round the year in different places around the world.