An Analysis of Change management models

In this report, we have focused on change management within an organization or a project. Change management is becoming so important that nowadays more and more companies use this method to improve the performance. Lots of change management models are used; they have made profit to the companies. However, not all the models are suitable to all the projects or all the kinds of companies; they have disadvantages as well as advantages when using them. In this report, we will discuss three models as examples: Kotter’s Eight Step Change Model, Lewin’s Change Management Model and McKinsey 7-S Model.


Change management is a methodical approach to handling with change, not only from the angle of an organization but on the individual level. A rather vague term, change management has more than three different dimensions, adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change included. A proactive approach to handling with change is at the central part of all three aspects. For an organization, change management means making the definition and implementation of procedures and/or technologies to handle with changes in the business environment and to profit from changing opportunities.

Triumphant adaptation to change is as vital within an organization as it is in the natural world. Just similar to plants and animals, organizations and the individuals in them unavoidably run into changing conditions that they are incapable to control. The more effectively you handle with change, the more probable you are to flourish. Building structured methods for addressing changes in the business environment or building coping mechanisms for addressing changes in the workplace might be involved in adaptation.

As a result, lots of change management models are built to help make the change management more effective. There are several of change management models. We will discuss three and decide which the best fit an organization needing many changes is. We will discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of these three change management models. Once we discuss them further, we will see differences to each of these models. There are also a lot of similarities among these models. It is vital that we have a systematic indulgent of each of the three change management models presented.

Problem Area & Scope

It usually doesn’t matter how well designed a project is at the beginning, change is an unavoidable part of the project implementation process. Most of us have a tendency to think of change in terms of problems or negative consequences. Though it’s true that change could be bad or could be good. There are quite a few of aspects that are looked at when the changes are made and a correct path should be adopted in order to achieve the required target. Our scope of this report focuses on the following:

  • How to describe change management system
  • What are the principles of change management and the guidelines which needs to be looked at when changes are required
  • Elements of change management systems
  • Most effective models of change management

Although there are several models present in the market today but only that model which suits the profile of the project should be adopted or whose implementation is not vague to the rest of the project team. In this study report we have primarily focused on following three models of change management:

  • Kotter Model
  • McKinsey 7-S Model
  • Lewin’s Change Management Model

Additional more our report highlights:

  • Characteristics of Each Model
  • Methodology of their usage.
  • The major constraints that could come across are scheduled below:
  • Uncertainty between people implementing change management models
  • Communication gap between top management and lower level.
  • Time
  • Uncertainty of the roles and responsibilities


Our study was employed on the study of Change Management, principles & different models of change management models were obtained by performing the following set of activities:

Topic Selection and Planning of Study

We had a brainstorming meeting where our team members got agreed to work on Conflict handling in Project Management and with the help of the study objectives and necessities which were mentioned by our course teacher (Erika Bellander), then the study was broken down into the following tasks: introduction, problems, scope area, theories & models related to different conflict situations in projects, conflict resolution strategies, methods used in the study,  reliability, validity, results, discussions and recommendations. These were followed by the formation of a responsibility matrix and time scheduling. The status or progress of each task were reported and usually uploaded on bilda at least a day before our weekly meetings on every Tuesdays.

Online Discussions

The IMPACT’S group members who were working together on some deliverables had online discussions and difficulties encountered during the tasks executing were also frequently discuss on line. We also helped each other by providing hints/inputs to each other by emails and we found that this is more effective way of communication.


Due to the time constraints, the IMPACT group could not obtain any primary data for the study from the companies/ Industries because of that our study was based on secondary sources which contains lectures notes, books and the internet were combine with working experience of our team members.


Now a day’s every manager or leaders in education are required to lead and manage changes. It is significant as nevertheless the survey has found that change is taking place at a growing tempo, the verification suggests that most change initiatives doesn’t not make the grade e.g. current research recommended that less than 65% of re-organizations met their stated aims which are usually bottom line enhancement. The impact of failures to bring in effective change could also be lofty e.g. loss of market position, elimination of senior management, loss of stakeholder trustworthiness, loss of key employees. To avoid such failures there is need of acquaintance with the change management principle and models and its consequences. In this section we will describe the basic change management principles and some models for the change management.

Definition of Change Management

Change management is a course of action in which whole system is modified according to any pre-defined framework or modelled by following it.

Principle of Change Management

There are some principles followed to make change management. By following these principles as a systematic, framework, team leaders can learn that how to manage their own personal change and how to appoint the whole organization in the process. Although there are many Principles of change management but few of the Principles are following:

Adopting a principled method that shows reliability and engenders openness and belief will see your change program throughout the hard times. Here are five key principles of successful change management:


The change program gets the visible support of key decision-makers within the organization as well as resources are ready to the program.


Planning is undertaken systematically before program execution and committed to writing. Plans are enumerated in accordance with predominant stakeholders and resources, goals, risks and other relevant participants.


Program objectives are written in assessable terms and program progress is controlled and intercommunicated to major stakeholders.

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Stakeholders are involved in an authentic bilateral communication on the basis of openness, reciprocal trust and esteem.

Support structures

Program executors and change recipients are provided with the resources and supporting systems required during the process of the implementation and the aftermath.


Change Management Guidelines

In our study of this change management model principle we have found the following important guidelines for the change management:

Address the individual side systematically: At all times engage and agree support from individual within system as every change creates individuals personal issues. When new leaders are asked to change then work will be changed and employees usually create confrontation which will lead to risk of speed of work, spirits and results. There is a common approach of change management that start with the top management team and then engage the stakeholders and this concept should start in early stage of change itself.

Start at the top: When changes in organization system occurs then everyone looks at the top management as the decisions comes from them who that how this should be along with its protocols. Top management should work together by planning and commitment and they must communicate with each other.

Involve every layer: When the course of action of change starts then we makes the strategy then designs its way and in implementation phase starts which affect all levels of the organization. Leadership at every level is must required with expertise in knowledge.

Communicate the message: One must keep in mind that there should not be any communication gap during the change management. There is a big mistake which is normally seen that some managers believe that all members in the team understand the problems. There is usually need of regular and timely messages which should be inspirational and applicable. Communication must be from bottom to up and from up to down also so that employees may get information at right time. There is also need of right message to right person to avoid bad consequences.

Prepare for unexpected: Whenever change is made according to plan then one usually has many problems faced during change management process. There are some unforeseen ways of reaction shown by some people. The reason of reaction could be anything. There should be persistent reassessment of the impact of change is needed and we should have the ability to adopt any sudden change into the organization.

Change Management Models

The change management should include the organizational change management procedures along with the individual’s development according to the change in order to avoid the conflicts and to have healthy environment in the organization. There are many approaches/models for the change management but following three models are described here:

  • McKinsey 7-S Model
  • Lewin’s Change Management Model
  • John P. Kotter’s Eight Steps of Change Management

4.5.1 McKinsey 7-S Model

McKinsey 7-S Model is developed by McKinsey and Company in 1981. The 7-S model is used to analyze the organization and their effectiveness. This model illustrate that an organization is consist of seven elements. This model is widely being used by many practitioners and academics to analyse different organizations.

The seven models are distinguished in the hard S’s and the soft S’s. Strategy, structure and system are considers as the Hard S’s and Style, Staff, Skills and shared values are the Soft S’s.

McKinsey 7-S model helps the organization to control and formulate the change management for all these seven models. Checklist can be developed for each model to analyze if any change is required and then necessary steps can be taken to achieve the desired changes.

The figure above shows the integration of each model in a way that all Models have interaction with each other’s and it also shows that Shared Values have common interaction with remaining 6-S models. The description and use of each model is explained bellow and categorised as the Hard S’s and the Soft S’s.

The Hard S’s:


Strategy is the set of plans for the action required to restructure the organization for the changes in its external environment. Organizations goals and decision and action of achieving the desired changes are the major factor for the strategy development.


When planning any changes, the organization needs to be organized in a way that that the structure of organization will remain controlled. If the organizational structure is affected due to changes request without controlling the factors like responsibilities, the system can be fully disturbed and it can cause serious problems


In any organization, people are working systematically for performing their tasks and responsibilities. While making changes it is important to take care of the system that the normal routines of staff shall not be affected in a way that they will not be able to perform their jobs.

The Soft S’s:


Every organization has their personal goals and objectives which gives the reason to all staff and management to move forward to perform their daily tasks. These goals and object have the same values for each and every body in the organization. While making the changes in the organization, the shared values should not be changed otherwise it will take the organization into failure of its goal.


Organization develops and maintains their culture and style of management. Organization’s style also means that the way managers interact with their employee and the way they spend their time. Changing the organization’s culture and style is difficult task as it involves the people personal behaviour


Organization’s success always depends on their staff and teams working on the assigned tasks to achieve their goals. The organization’s now a days are paying more attention into their human resources to have the right and active competences. The need and importance of Human resource management became essential for most of organizations now a day. Changing in staff can really result into a big success or big failure depending on right decisions by HR management.


Staff without the right skills to perform any tasks can create several problems for the operations and May results into big disasters. Technology is improving our working environment and new skills needed to be developed into existing staff to fulfil their gaps. Skill development through trainings can help the staff to have the right skills to perform their tasks.

4.5.2 Lewin’s Change Management Model

Change is a common thread that occurs in all businesses regardless of size, organization and age; even in our individual lives. There is a common saying that “change is the only permanent thing in life”. The whole world is changing fast; hence organizations must change quickly as well. The leading organizations are those that manage change well. As for those that do not, they have continued to struggle to survive.

Developed in 1950s, Kurt Lewin’s Change Management Model is one of the most popular cornerstone models for understanding organizational change. His model is popularly known as Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze which refers to the three-stages of change he described. Lewin explained organizational change applying the analogy-changing the shape of an ice block.

  • First stage: Unfreezing
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This is possibly one of the most critical stages to realize in the area of change we find ourselves today. The stage is about making preparations for the change that is about to happen. In this stage, we must understand that change is necessary and we must be prepared to move away from our present comfort zone. The more we perceive the need for a change, the more urgent it becomes and the more our motivation to make the change. You can compare this with having a job to be delivered within a deadline. The closer the deadline, the more likely you are to hurriedly get the job started. The deadline for a job is usually tied around some kind of rewards or punishment. Without a deadline, the urge to change is lower compared to the need to change. The motivation to make the change, and get on with it also becomes lower.

It is important to weigh the ‘pro’s’ and ‘con’s’ and then be sure that the ‘pro’s’ outnumbers the ‘con’s’ before you take off. This leads us to what Lewin termed the Force field Analysis.

Force Field Analysis shows us that there are different factors (forces) that we need to observe when making change. Some are for while some are against. If, the factors for change is more than the factors beside change we will make change. Otherwise, there is low motivation and if we force a change we’re likely to be heading for a danger.

The first stage of unfreezing is moving our selves, or a department, or an entire organization towards motivation for change and one good way of doing this is by using The Kurt Lewin Force Field Analysis.

  • Second Stage: Change or Transition

The second stage called change or transition takes place as we formulate the changes that are required. According to Kurt Lewin, change is as a process and not an event. The process is what he called transition. He then described transition as the inner movement we make in response to a change.

This stage is often the hardest because people are uncertain and fearful. The period is more difficult as people are learning about the change which requires some understanding to work with. Therefore it is very important to give them all the necessary support in the form of coaching and training and to have it in mind that mistakes are part of the change process. It is more helpful using role models and giving people room to develop their own solution towards making the change. It is also essential to let people have an understandable image of the required change and the usual benefits. By so doing, they stay focused, and this can only be achieved through effective communication.

  • Third Stage: Freezing or Refreezing

This stage focused on establishing stability after the changes are made. The changes become the new way of doing things. Although it takes time for people to get used to the new norms as they have to form new relationships, but as time goes on they become adapted and comfortable with their routines.

However there has been a lot of criticism and people argue that practically there is never time for the so called ‘freezing’ stage. The world is so dynamic now and it might just take a couple of weeks for another change to happen. Hence, there is no time to settle into comfortable routines. The ‘freezing’ sounds too rigid and does not fit with the modern idea of change which is a continuous and sometimes a disorderly process in which greater flexibility is demanded. For this reason, it is recommended that we think of this final stage as being more flexible, instead of a rigid frozen block. Consequently, unfreezing for the next change becomes easier.

4.5.3 John P. Kotter’s Eight Steps of Change Management

In today environment change becomes natural part of doing business, whether be change in consumers’ behaviour, competitive landscape, supply chains, financial market, labour market. Not many organizations can adapt to changes coming to them effectively and in many instances can bankrupt the company.

One of the leading management guru is John P. Kotter who introduced concept of eight steps to organization change management to help company adapt and prepare to various changes that affecting organization. Kotter has written several bestseller books. The most recognize one is Leading Change, which discusses practical 8-step process for the organization to follow when facing changes. The process describes useful insight on how to manage change for business organization of which key principles taking into people participation and roles in identification and implementing strategies.

Kotter’s eight steps are being discussed briefly as follows:

Establish a Sense of Urgency

It is vey crucial for an organization to be ready and responsive to changes that happen in the market. The best way is for management to create sense of urgency for change and engagement staff at all level to be aware and adaptive for changes that company may encounter. The management should evaluate the market landscape and analyze impact or potential threat and opportunity to the company. This should also be shared among key staff to form a strategic plan.

Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition

In order to implement change effectively, key staff should come together to form a working group or steering committee to lead the effort.

Create a Vision

Establish sensible vision for change. The vision should reflect value and reason that change need to happen. It must be accompanied by workable strategies not a wishful one.

Communicate the Vision

Once the vision is established, management need to communicate it effectively as it is a guiding principle for change. Tools of communication and target group must be carefully crafted to ensure most effective effort and utilization of resources.

Empower Others to Act on the Vision

In order to create change, management must eliminate obstacles or system/process that gets in a way of implementing the vision and strategies. Management should encourage staff to take calculated risk and breakout of existing comfort zone to embracing new vision and strategies.

Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins

In reality, for an organization to achieve its vision may take long period of time and faces many obstacles and setbacks. Management should set a series of achievable short term goal that link to strategy and vision so staff can have a reachable goal to achieve and feel accomplish. It is also the opportunity to identify improvement in process to better achieve the vision as goal being reviewed periodically.

Consolidate Improvements and Produce Still More Change

Continue improvement in work process and system is important key to ensure that organization moving forward toward achieving the vision. This also includes the improvement in human resources practices from hiring, promotion and personal development.

Institutionalize New Approaches

To create lasting change, the new way of thinking should be part of organizational culture, process, structure and human resources development.

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The above provide general information on Kotter’s 8 steps process of which offers good framework for an organization in approaching change. According to him only 15% of businesses will successfully implement and adapt to change that coming to them. One of the reasons may be that most management fails to take the complexity of human the connection. Some of executives would probably outline the right business strategy but unable to implement it effectively due to internal resistance to change within its organization as well as poorly communicate to the staff of the changes and the way to go forward in managing it and cause misunderstanding or fear among employee. To summarize, Kotter’s concept is very useful and actionable, nevertheless, the company chose also be mindful of its staff culture and personality and revise plan to communicate effectively.


Analyzing the three models described above McKinsey 7-S Model, Lewin’s Change Management model and John P. Kotter’s Eight Steps pf Change Management can be observed that each model have their own particularities and focus in the Change Management Subject.

In the case of the first model, McKinsey 7-S Model M, is more focused in the areas that should be considered during an organisational change and created in the beginning of the 80’s. This model has been classified by INMPACT group in two parts as Organisational Core Aspects as Strategy, Structure and systems which can be classified as the spine; and in the Human Resources aspects where are considered values, management style, leadership, interaction, skills and competences.

Lewin’s Change Management model is a general model created in the 50’s and talks about three different stages during a change management. The three stages mentioned are unfreezing, change and freezing. From our point of view this model gives a global view in the topic, but is missing certain important aspects that are crucial during the planning, implementation of a change inside any kind of organisation. Nowadays companies live in an environment where if the company stays at the freeze stage exists a higher possibility of failure due to the environment and other players are in continuous change that is the reason why companies have a high degree of flexibility in their human resources, strategy, systems and structure.

Kotter’s eight steps Change Model focus on the urgency sense and on a high degree of responsiveness, leadership (powerful guiding coalition) and human resources, vision and structure, communication, empowerment, short term win through challenging but also reachable goals, continuous improvement in systems, processes and practices, people planning and development. The eight steps models from our point of view are focused on the continuous environmental changes, consumer’s behaviour, supply chains, financial markets, etc.

From our point of view the Mckinsey model and the Eight Step model can be integrated in one model in order to have a better view on the Change Management, it both models can complement each other in both main aspects mentioned by McKinsey model organisational core areas and Human resources and at the same time the eight steps can be classified in both areas.


As mentioned before can be developed one model 8Steps-Mckinsey in where the different aspect mentioned by both models can be identified in one.

8 STEPS- MckinseyLeadership

  1. Responsiveness
  2. Continuous Improvement
  3. Empowerment
  4. People Planning
  5. Vision
  6. Short Term Goals

As can be perceived in the model leadership, responsiveness and continuous improvement should be present in all parts of the model, while in the organisational core part should be integrated the vision and short term goals which help to establish new perspectives to the strategy, structure and vision. At the same time the Human Resources should have the ability to be empowered, and at the same time HR Management should define which competences want to be developed, skills and capacity.


Nowadays Organizational change is required and it is increasing, but the change happens not very successfully. The high levels of breakdown signify that proper management of these changes is still missing. It shows that there is a lot to learn about the how to deal with change more efficiently. We have found that there is no solitary model of change management is there which is applicable to everywhere and there cannot be single solution for it. However we do have some models from our studies which are better and one can apply these as per their applicability.

It has been seen that the management professionals are not always having the appropriate skills to lead change management and are not keenly included within the change procedure. However, many of such concerns that are identified concern of the ‘people aspects’ of change. In such cases human resource management department should take the steps for it and manage it, to have healthy consequences of the change. To achieve this there is a need of proper skills is needed in the management side as well as the human resources as well. The change management response should be adaptive.

The key elements of the successful change management are plan for long term in broad manner, establish proper communication methods to enable fast review and good decision from the managers, empower people to have decision at local operational level, avoid unnecessary changes and time consuming procedures, encourage people to adapt the changes by proper training and telling its benefits and respect people’s feelings and optimize the IT systems to facilitate for valuable information management.


Our team recommends a deeper study of change management models for all our stakeholders, our readers as currently there are so many change management models being used by different organizations and their selection criteria depends totally on their own needs and objectives.

In theory we have some models which says that one can have be flexible for his way of change management and one should allows the flexibility to respond the change but such models are not very practical when it comes to the consequences of changes. e.g. capability to share knowledge and to work efficiently, it may have impact on effectiveness of communication or individual commitment, which itself has implications for change effectiveness.

The individual development and training plays the important role in change management process. The human resource involvement in the individual development plays significant role. Following are some important responsibilities of human resource team towards the employees, which has significance during the change management process:

  • Participation at the early phase in the project group.
  • Get used to negotiating and connecting across various individuals.
  • Understanding individuals concerns to look forward to problems.
  • Develop good medium of message to reach a variety of groups.
  • Serving people deal with change, performance management and motivation.
  • Advising project managers in skills available within the organization – examining skills gaps, training requirements and new working observations etc.
  • Harmonizing out the contracted/temporary goals with broader tactical needs.
  • Evaluating the impact of change in one department and its influence on another part of the organization.
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