Change Management Theories

Change management theories and how well they are implemented can be the ultimate driving factor of success in the organizational change. There are many models and theories, and each one has potential benefits or weaknesses for each organization. The following are a mere few that have demonstrated success in organizations.


The ADKAR model is designed to focus teams on specific activities that will impact results. The benefits to this model include; evaluating employee resistance, help employees transition through the process, create employee specific action plans, and develop a change management plan with employees. (Prosci, 2006)
Because the ADKAR model is focused on employees, success with the change plan is likely as the staff feels involved and has interest in the process. The model is task specific so results can be easily measured and evaluated. Larger companies may have difficulty implementing the ADKAR model as they may not have the time or the resources to collaborate as closely with their employees as this requires.

Six Change Approach

The Six Change Approaches developed by Kotter and Schlesinger is designed to prevent or minimize employee resistance to change. This model can be useful to any size organization as it covers many possible issues, some an organization may never even face. The approaches react to the four main resistance factors which are; self-interest, misunderstanding, low tolerance for change, and employee disagreement with reasoning. lays out the 6 approaches succinctly. The last two strategies are some times necessary, but the repercussions should be carefully weighed.

1. Education and Communication. “Up-front communication and education helps employees see the logic in the change effort.”

2. Participation and Involvement. “When employees are involved in the change effort they are more likely to buy into change rather than resist it.”

3. Facilitation and Support. “Managerial support helps employees deal with fear and anxiety during a transition period.”

4. Negotiation and Agreement. “Managers can combat resistance by offering incentives to employees to not resist change.”

5. Manipulation and Co-option. “Co-option involves the patronizing gesture in brining a person into a change management group for the sake of appearances rather than their substantive contribution.”

6. Explicit and Implicit Coercion. “Managers can explicitly or implicitly force employees into accepting change by making clear that resisting to change can lead to losing jobs, firing, transferring or not promoting employees.”
(, 2006)

Business Process Reengineering

Business Process Reengineering is a model focused more on outcomes and the work process than on employee specific issues. Seven principles are used to streamline processes and improve time management, costs and quality. For organizations operating under bloated parameters, BPR is the efficient, if not exactly friendly, solution to downsize costs. The factors (from CIO Media) include:

1. Organize around outcomes, not tasks.

2. Identify all the processes in an organization and prioritize them in order of redesign urgency.

3. Integrate information processing work into the real work that produces the information.

4. Treat geographically dispersed resources as though they were centralized.

5. Link parallel activities in the workflow instead of just integrating their results.

6. Put the decision point where the work is performed, and build control into the process.

7. Capture information once and at the source.
(Business process reengineering, 2006)

Kaizen Model

An opposite of BPR is the Japanese developed Kaizen model. More of a long-term philosophy that short-term change tool, Kaizen is founded on 5 specific elements. Teamwork, personal discipline, improved morale, quality circles, and suggestions for improvement. It is difficult to measure the results of the Kaizen model as they are not always clearly defined, or readily available. However, the model is people oriented, easy to implement and has proven success over long-term change situations that allow time for employees to adapt and grow into a successful culture.

Deming Cycle PDSA Model

A final model that is treated more as a philosophy that a specific change manager is the Deming Cycle PDSA. The essential elements being that employees are in a constant state of; Plan, Do, Study, and Act. This creates an employee culture that is in constant movement and preparation for change. The employees will be comfortable with the change process; therefore they will be comfortable with the specific changes ahead of them. Japan has latched on to this model as well, and has seen remarkable industrial growth over a period of time. (The Deming Cycle, 2006)

These are only a few of the many change management models. For the most part, they are concerned with the human implications of organizational change.

Human Implications

Implementing new technology may be one of the most problematic changes for an organization to complete. While technology adds new elements to the change process, management must focus on the basic issues and tools available to provide employees the best environment to adapt to the change.

There are specific traits a change manager needs to have to create positive change environments. This includes promoting open and frequent communication, being a good listener, patience, being knowledgeable, a good example and most importantly willing to communicate and share their knowledge.

When changes in technology are in front of employees they can be fearful of having to learn new programs and tasks. They are also wary of the issues that follow working the bugs out of a new program. This includes downtimes or malfunctions. New technology can be a breeding ground for employee frustration.

The best way to combat this frustration is to communicate with the employees the potential benefits of the new technologies and to develop an atmosphere of positive change. “An atmosphere of openness, good communications, clear vision, leadership and training engenders good change management. Consultation, communications, transparency and informality minimize fear and suspicion; staff resent the sense that changes are imposed on them and that they are powerless – they need to be involved. They need to understand the rationale behind decisions which are being made, even if they do not agree with them.” (Edwards and Walton, 2000)

Don Forrer, D.B.A., of International College states the critical factors that contribute to the importance of technology and its impact on managing employees during change, “Technology factors are elements important to a company’s ability to dominate the information systems aspects of their industry. This could include people skills, better communication equipment or more efficient technology. Expertise in any technology-related field can provide a competitive advantage. Technology enhances productivity and leads to better efficiency at a lower cost.” (Forrer, 2006)

The critical success factors can be different for any organization and modified to fall in line with their mission, vision and future plans. Employees must be included in the development of the specific success factors as they will be more open to potential changes and have a vested interest in the future of the organization.

“Key success factors take the form of human and business processes as they evolve to help move a company forward. Organizations and people are dependent upon each other for survival. People contribute ideas, energy and talent to the organization while benefiting from the job, pay and careers provided by the company. Each individual plays an important role in productivity, quality and image. It is management’s job to ensure that employees are focused on the vision of the company and change occurs when required.” (Forrer, 2006)

Human Implications to Binkington Industries

Binkington Industries is in the peculiar position of creating a new organization from ground zero. The company has no history but must be able to contend with the history and tendencies of any new employees.

New employees are generally ready for change or else they would not have left their previous jobs. This gives any organization a great opportunity to implement change tools from the start. The five change models discussed above are great tools to help prepare new employees to set out with a brand new company, excited for the opportunism ahead.

The ADKAR model speaks highly of employee action plans. This includes having employees develop personal mission statements that should be in line with the company’s mission statement. As a small company, Binkington can implement the ADKAR model easily and be able to take advantage of all the tools it employs. The Six Change Approach is a valuable model for management to have in mind for future change. Right now, the employees are on board, but as the company grows and tries to branch out, the six change approaches could become a necessity to implement new changes.

Business process reengineering can be modified to develop the focus on outcomes and employee processes that will keep employees focused on the work that needs to be done and what will be measured as their performance metrics. Both Kaizen and The Deming Cycle models are incredible models to implement at the beginning. Either can help to create a culture that is prepared for change, and in most cases anticipates change. As stated earlier, the model is people oriented, easy to implement and has proven success over long-term change situations that allow time for employees to adapt and grow into a successful culture.

A successful culture is essential to any organization. Binkington Industries can only benefit from implementing models that improve culture and prepare employees for possible changes. A new company is most likely to change quickly and often.

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