Change Management WalkMe TeamUpdated September 25, 2018

Organizational Change Theory: 2 Prominent Change Models

5/5 - (1 vote)
Organizational Change Theory: 2 Prominent Change Models

Organizational change is essential for survival in fast-moving industries. If your company isn’t willing and ready to adapt with the times, you’ll risk getting left in the dirt of your competition.

By taking advantage of organizational change theory, you’ll be better equipped to adjust to today’s diverse work environments. This will help you appreciate the complexity of change, where there are so many considerations you’d be silly to dive in without capitalizing at least one model.

Change is a constant reality, and is one of a few things that’s guaranteed in this world. Though change is inevitable, it’s the management of change which will define your business’ character. We might view ourselves as experts, but very few will have delved deep into how.

Change managment ebook guide for donwload

Because there are so many variables to assess, you’d be wise to use organizational change theory. Properly defined models of change have done most of the hard work for you, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate the potency of transition.

Your best bet is to extract individual elements from each model and apply them to your current situation. Change isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, so it needs to be tailored according to specific needs and circumstances.

To bring you up-to-speed with organizational change theory, you can learn a lot from the popular models below. These will help you transcend into a new era, and give yourself the best chance to survive in competitive markets.

Before we get to the theory, take a look at these great change management techniques

Organizational Change Theory: The Top Models of Change

Change management is an ongoing process, one which requires a suitable plan of action.

To assist with the expertise, dedication, and all-around effort necessary to implement real change, adopt one of these influential change management approaches and you won’t be disappointed:

Lewin’s Model

Though first developed in the 1950s, this model has revolutionized organizational change ever since. There are many valid points, where breaking ice is used as a metaphor for the changing states of change. The three main stages to evaluate are: unfreeze, change, and refreeze.


The starting point for this model is preparation. For change to be executed, it must first be prepared for. This is where change moves from the precontemplation to the contemplation stage, when staff begin to realize change is necessary.

In the unfreeze stage, you must encourage your staff to adopt a mindset where they perceive change as positive.

This is difficult when you consider people are afraid of things which threaten to rock the boat. If you can promote the individual benefits staff will experience from change, they are more likely to embrace it.

This will help you unfreeze the status quo, so your team are susceptible to change and appreciate the value it will bring.


Once staff are ready to embrace change with open arms, you’ll be ready and set for a real transition. It’s important to realize change doesn’t happen overnight, and that your workforce will take time to adjust.

This is natural, and for real developments to occur you must be patient, understanding, and undemanding. For change to be progressive, it should be managed by inspirational leaders.

If your strategy isn’t receiving executive support from the top-down, staff can feel demotivated to embrace it wholeheartedly .

With proactive leaders who are open to feedback and improvement suggestions, there’ll be open communication channels which serve multiple purposes.


Once change has been implemented, your company will begin to experience stability again. This can be referred to as a ‘refreezing’ of the status quo, where staff return to a productive work pace.

This is all well and good, but not when staff slip back into old habits. Your ambition will be to refreeze your work environment with change at its cultural root. When change has become the new norm, and is thereby readily supported, employees will regain the comfort they need to proceed.

This organizational change theory reaches a conclusion when staff are fully confident with new procedures.

Kotter’s Theory

Producing one of the most iconic pieces of organizational change theory, Kotter became renowned for his excellence in the change management field. His model is divided into eight stages, which are as follows:


Whip your organization into a state of urgency. They must realize the importance of change to fully embrace it, and be motivated to hit regular change targets.

Team Building

You’ll need the right people on board to execute change, which means you must assemble a team with the expertise to fulfill your vision.

Align Visions

You’ll need to create a vision which receives emotional investment from your team. Everyone should be on the same page, and can be guided by strategy which evokes creativity and emotional acceptance.


Change should be communicated organization-wide. This is a two-way street, where employees must be given the opportunity to contribute feedback, and feel confident their opinions are valued.

A great way to improve communication is to engage teams with one of these exercises.


Feedback should be implemented in a structured fashion, and you must receive full support of your team while removing common obstacles.

Short Term Wins

Dividing change into manageable portions is a great way to reduce the size of the mountain your team needs to climb. Staff will be more motivated to progress in the right direction when they’re incentivized by hitting short-term goals.


Persist with your process, no matter how tough times get. It might take longer than expected, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Incorporate Change

Change should be reinforced, and ultimately become a crucial component of company culture.

If you liked this article, you may also like: