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    10 Proven Change Management Models for 2024

    December 8, 2021

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    change management models
    Unmesh Lamture
    Written By
    Unmesh Lamture

    Change is inevitable, but often, it is easier than it looks. It can be even more challenging to implement and manage change in an organization. Let’s understand the meaning of change management models and then take a quick look at 10 proven models.

    What Are Change Management Models?

    Change management models are theories and concepts that are used to drive organizational change. They are meant to provide a structure to implement and navigate change. They also help employees, management, and everyone involved accept and implement that change. The goal is to ensure that each individual is a champion of change.

    Change management models are useful no matter how tenured your employees are. These models can be used for new hires who need to acclimate to new work environments, processes, and rules. They can also be used when internal tools and processes are altered, and for tenured employees to understand new ways of executing their functions.

    Change management model frameworks are designed to help everyone transition and get accustomed to new systems and processes. Eventually, the model ensures that the changes become part of the company’s culture. 

    Here are the 10 Best Change Management Models for 2022

    Certain change management models are suited to certain types of organizations; some are best suited to smaller organizations and others to larger organizations with multiple tiers and more complex processes.

    While almost every organization has a specific way of informing its employees of changes and updates, it is advisable to follow models that have been proven to be effective.

    Let’s take a look at the top 10 tried and tested change management models.

    1.  Kübler-Ross Change Curve

    This theory is most effective for smaller groups as it allows for personal connections and conversations. This change management model is often used in collaboration with other models.

    Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a psychiatrist who defined these five stages. Her theory was based on acknowledging that change causes emotional reactions. Understanding how change affects these emotions makes it easier to cope.

    There are five stages to this change management model:

    • Denial
    • Anger
    • Bargaining
    • Depression
    • Acceptance

    This is generally how people go through accepting the change; it is said that people may move through these stages in a different order and may even tend to repeat some phases when dealing with change.

    It isn’t enough to know these stages. HR teams and managers should be aware of how to deal with them. It is important to be there for employees, to listen to them, understand their frustration, and guide them through the period of change.

    Empathizing with employees is vital during the different phases. It is also good to let them know what the advantages of these changes are.

    As an employer, it is also advisable, to be honest about what your feelings are towards change. This creates a feeling of transparency and trust, which allows employees the freedom to communicate their thoughts.

    2.  McKinsey 7-S Model

    This change management model is more complex than some of the others. However, it is ideal when implementing organization-wide changes across many levels of employees.

    There are seven parts to this model, and the goal is to identify the areas of weakness so that they can be resolved. These are the seven parts of the McKinsey 7S change management model.

    •  Strategy
    • Structure
    • Systems
    • Staff
    • Style
    • Skills
    • Shared Values

    Strategy, structure, and systems are considered ‘hard’ elements. This means that they are the factors that are likely to stay more constant since management’s decisions influence them.

    The other elements, or the ‘soft’ elements, are subject to constant change. The goal of this change management model is to observe how these elements interact with each other so that areas of concern can be identified and resolved.

    3.  Nudge Theory

    The Nudge Theory model of change management focuses on subtly pushing employees towards change rather than enforcing it. Employees are shown evidence of the benefit of the change, while indirect suggestions are made, nudging them towards the desired change. 

    The theory revolves around the idea that subtle suggestions are more impactful than forced changes. In essence, employees feel like they’re in control of managing the change and are a part of the process.

    These are the principles of Nudge Theory:

    • Define required changes
    • Empathize with the employee’s POV
    • Offer evidence to reveal the best solutions
    • Represent change as a choice
    • Gather the employee feedback
    • Limit options
    • Solidify change with short-term wins

    4. Maurer 3 Levels of Resistance and Change Model

    • I don’t get it
    • I don’t like it
    • I don’t like you

    The above mentioned are the three critical levels of resistance that the Maurer Change Management Model focuses on. Essentially these three levels have been identified to cause failure when change is being implemented.

    The model’s creator was of the impression that only 33% of changes made would be successful. The main causes for this are the lack of information and communication, poor reactions based on emotion, and the inability to have faith in those implementing the change.

    5.  Bridges’ Transition Model

    This change management model focuses more on the emotional impacts of the change and not on the change itself. The change transition is divided into three parts:

    • Ending, losing, and letting go
    • The neutral zone
    • The new beginning

    This change management model involves the employee in the transition journey from a very early point in the change process. This allows employees to feel like they are more a part of the change rather than that change has happened to them.

    6.  Kotter’s Theory

    There are eight sections to Kotter’s Theory of change management model.

    • Create a sense of urgency
    • Build the change team
    • Form a strategic vision
    • Communicate the vision
    • Remove barriers to change
    • Focus on short-term wins
    •  Maintain momentum
    • Institute change

    This change management model was created by John P. Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School. This model is all about building momentum behind the change, ensuring that everyone understands what the change will bring about, and ensuring that the change isn’t seen as a problem, rather an exciting opportunity.

    This change management model is best suited for larger companies and works best when used with other models.

    7.  The ADKAR Change Management Model

    • Awareness
    • Desire
    • Knowledge
    • Ability
    • Reinforcement

    These are the 5 parts of the ADKAR change management model. The letters represent goals that the company needs to achieve. It is not a step-by-step model.

    The theory is centered around employees, and it relies heavily on employee input and feedback. Instead of presenting changes that need to be made, the theory is that employees are likely to imbibe changes by choice. 

    The theory suggests that the action starts with a conversation, suggests change and builds up from there using the 5 stages mentioned above. This model is ideal for changes that are intended to be executed gradually.

    8.  Deming Cycle AKA PDCA

    This change management model is about improving the process to ensure that change is implemented smoothly. The Deming Cycle is also known as PDCA, owing to the stages mentioned below:

    • Plan
    • Do
    • Check
    • Act

    The four phases of this change cycle are to help identify areas of concern, resolve them through change and track the changes that have been implemented to understand if additional changes or actions need to be taken to ensure the changes are a success.

    This change management model is referred to as a cycle since the process should be continuous. This method is ideal for small teams within an organization or a small company.

    9.  Satir Change Model

    The Satir Change Management model, like some of the others, also focuses on how the change is impacting employees’ emotions. There are five stages used to track emotions:

    • Late status quo
    • Resistance
    • Chaos
    • Integration
    • New status quo

    This change management model is more about preparing for change and not necessarily addressing what changes need to be made.

    10. Lewin’s Change Management Model

    Kurt Lewin designed this change management model. The intention is to break down the overall changes into smaller segments of change and thus make them more manageable.

    The three steps to breakdown change are:

    • Unfreeze

    This means analyzing the existing process to understand how the process can be improved.

    • Change

    This phase is about guiding employees through the change that has been deemed necessary.

    • Refreeze

    This term is used to describe the new changes that become a substantial part of the work environment. This change management model is best when implemented over time. It is ideal when management support is stellar and the intention is to make changes across the organization.


    Change management is essential to ensure that organizations succeed. Change is an inevitable part of the business. Choosing the right change management model to suit your needs and possibly selecting a combination of change management models is the best way to ensure success.

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