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Top 10 Change Management Models

Change Management has become a necessity in multiple organisations today, owing to the fast-paced business environment and their susceptibility to change. Navigating the complexities of organisational change can be a daunting task, which is why they require a systematic approach and Change Management Models. 

Enterprises can avail of multiple Change Management Models for their smooth functioning and easy transition to change. These models provide a structured framework and set of principles that guide organisations through the process of initiating, implementing, and managing change. 

This blog showcases a comprehensive list of the best Change Management Models used by organisations to adapt, evolve, and remain competitive in today’s ever-changing landscape. 

Table of Contents

1) What is a Change Management Model?

2)  Why Change Models are important? 

3) A list of the top 10 Change Management Models 

   a) Lewin’s Change Management Model 

   b) Kotter’s 8-step change model 

   c) ADKAR Model 

   d) McKinsey 7-S model 

   e) Bridges’ Transition model 

   f) Nudge theory 

   g) Kübler-Ross Change Curve

   h) The Deming Cycle (PDCA) 

   i) The Satir change model 

   j) The Change Acceleration Process (CAP) 

2) Conclusion

What is a Change Management Model? 

Change Management Model is a methodology that offers detailed guidance when it comes to Organisational Change. Be it anything from planned transitions to transformations, this model provides a structured approach to navigating them. It also helps navigate any challenges that arise during this process. Moreover, it makes sure that these changes are successfully adopted and implemented. 

Change Management Models provide a detailed roadmap for understanding these changes for everyone in the organisation. Overall, it makes it easier for everyone to implement these changes as well as enforce these transitions as the new practice.  

Why Change Models are important? 

Change Management Models offer comprehensive knowledge on implementing the best practices in a change project. So, understanding these models is extremely important for organisations. It doesn't matter if you use just one or a blend of different approaches, these models will improve the effectiveness of implementing new changes. 

The Change Management process is a double-edged sword, and using it properly can lead to a lot of benefits. However, if used improperly, it can wreak devastating consequences as change projects are extremely complex and expensive. So, make sure to weigh in such risks in your change management process. 

However, hope is on the horizon as these models have the potential to offer great success and sustainable growth. You can also use proven and well-established models to increase the efficiency of your change initiatives. Following such established models has the following benefits: 

1) Overcome resistance 

2) Streamline communication 

3) Smooth transitions

Become the catalyst for positive change in your organisation with our Change Management Courses now! 

A list of the top 10 Change Management Models 

Change Management Models encompass the best practices and strategies that aim to simplify the change implementation process in organisations. Let’s look at a list of the best Change Management Models that can help you and your business:

A detailed list of the best Change Management Models

1) Lewin’s Change Management Model 

Lewin’s model was one of the earliest models to be introduced for simplifying Change Management. It is one of the most used Change Management Tools in various industries. It provides a three-stage framework that helps organisations understand and navigate the change process. The three stages are known as unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. Let’s look at these stages in detail:  

a) Unfreeze: The first stage of Lewin’s model is called ‘unfreeze’, and it refers to the act of ‘unfreezing’ the existing mindset and beliefs of the employees of the organisation to prepare them for change.

By highlighting the gap between the current state and the desired future state, unfreezing helps overcome resistance to change and motivates individuals to embrace new possibilities, simplifying Change Management.  

b) Change: The second stage refers to the actual implementation of change. The processes involved in this stage can include restructuring, introducing new technologies, modifying roles and responsibilities, or altering organisational culture.  

c) Refreeze: The final stage of Lewin's model is refreezing, which involves anchoring the changes into the organisation's culture, processes, and behaviours. It aims to make the new state the norm, ensure the changes become permanent and sustainable, and guarantee quality Change Management. 

2) Kotter’s 8-step change model 

Kotter's 8-Step Change Model was developed by renowned Change Management expert John Kotter. This Change Management model outlines a step-by-step approach that helps organisations navigate the complexities of change effectively and increase the likelihood of successful implementation. Let's explore each step in detail: 

a) Create a sense of urgency: This stage is essential in effective Change Management. Leaders must communicate the reasons behind the need for change, highlighting the possible risks involved in maintaining the status quo and the opportunities that change can bring to motivate employees and overcome resistance. 

b) Form a powerful coalition: Leaders need to build a strong team or coalition of influential individuals who support the change. This coalition should have diverse skills, expertise, and influence to guide the change effort and drive it forward. 

c) Develop vision and strategy: A clear and inspiring vision for the future is crucial in guiding the change effort. Leaders must develop a compelling vision that outlines the desired state after implementing the change. 

d) Communicate the vision: Leaders must consistently and transparently communicate the reasons for change and the vision, alongside the benefits it will bring to individuals and the organisation. Open communication helps in building trust and reduces uncertainty during the change process. 

e) Empower your employees: To facilitate change leading to effective Change Management, leaders need to empower employees by removing barriers and providing the necessary resources and authority to act. 

f) Generate short-term wins: Creating and celebrating quick, visible wins is essential to maintain momentum and build confidence in the change process. Leaders should identify early opportunities for success and communicate and celebrate these achievements to motivate employees. 

g) Maintain the momentum: After achieving early wins, it is crucial to build on the momentum and continue driving the change process. Leaders should leverage the credibility gained from initial successes to tackle larger challenges and implement changes for quality Change Management. 

h) Anchor the changes: In the final step, leaders must ensure that the changes are embedded in the organisation's culture and become the new way of doing things. This involves aligning the enterprise's policies, procedures, and reward systems with the desired change. 

Become the catalyst for positive change in your organisation with our Change Management Foundation & Practitioner Course now! 

3) ADKAR Model 

The ADKAR Model, developed by Prosci, is one of the most used Change Management Models that focus on individual transitions during change. It provides a structure for understanding the key elements necessary for successful change at the individual level. ADKAR stands for: 

a) Awareness: The first stage in the ADKAR model refers to creating awareness about the change. This includes understanding why change is necessary, what it entails, and its potential impact on individuals and the organisation. 

b) Desire: The second stage of the model focuses on growing an individual’s desire to support and participate in the change. Leaders must communicate the benefits and positive outcomes of the change, addressing any perceived disadvantages or uncertainties. 

c) Knowledge: In this stage, individuals need to acquire the necessary knowledge and information to implement the change effectively. This includes providing training, resources, and clear instructions on how to carry out new processes, tasks, or behaviours associated with the change. 

d) Ability: The ability stage focuses on building the skills and capabilities required to perform new tasks or behaviours associated with the change. It involves providing individuals with the necessary support, coaching, and development opportunities to develop the skills needed for the change. 

e) Reinforcement: The final stage of the ADKAR Model emphasises the importance of reinforcement to sustain the change. It involves creating a supportive environment reinforcing the new behaviours, processes, and systems the change introduces. 

4) McKinsey 7-S model 

The McKinsey 7-S Model is a widely used Change Management framework for assessing and improving organisational effectiveness. Developed at McKinsey & Company by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, this model focuses on seven interrelated elements that need to be aligned to achieve organisational success. Let's explore each element of the McKinsey 7-S Model in detail

McKinsey 7-S mode
a) Strategy: Strategy represents an organisation's overall direction and plan for achieving its goals. It involves making choices about where to compete, how to differentiate, and how to create value.     

b) Structure: Structure refers to the organisation's formal framework, including its hierarchy, reporting relationships, and division of responsibilities. It determines how people and functions are organised and how information flows within the organisation. 

c) Systems: Systems encompass the processes, procedures, and routines that govern how work is done within the organisation. This includes performance management systems, information systems, financial systems, and other operational processes. 

d) Shared values: Shared values represent the fundamental beliefs and guiding principles that shape the organisation's culture. They define what the organisation stands for and influence employee behaviour and decision-making. 

e) Style: Style encompasses the leadership and management practices within the organisation. It includes the values, behaviours, and norms exhibited by leaders and managers and their impact on the organisation's culture. 

f) Staff: Staff refers to the organisation's human resources, including the number, skills, and deployment of employees. It involves recruiting, developing, and retaining talented individuals aligned with the organisation's strategy and culture. 

g) Skills: Skills represent the capabilities and competencies of individuals and teams within the organisation. This includes technical skills, functional expertise, and other specialised knowledge required to perform tasks and achieve strategic objectives. 

5) Bridges’ Transition model 

William Bridges developed Bridges' Transition Model, a Change Management framework that helps individuals and organisations navigate the emotional and psychological transitions that occur during change. This model recognises that change is not a one-time event but a process that requires individuals to go through three distinct stages, which are as follows:  

a) Ending: The first stage of Bridges' Transition Model focuses on acknowledging and addressing the endings associated with change. During this stage in Change Management, individuals may experience a range of emotions, such as resistance, denial, sadness, or even anger. Leaders and change agents need to provide support, communicate openly, and help individuals understand the need for change.  

b) Neutral zone: The neutral zone, also called the "limbo" or "in-between" stage, is a period of ambiguity and exploration between the ending and the new beginning. During this stage, individuals are no longer in the old state, but the new state has not yet fully materialised. Leaders should encourage experimentation, support, and foster a sense of psychological safety to help individuals adapt and explore new possibilities.  

c) New Beginning: The new beginning stage represents when individuals start to embrace and integrate the changes into their lives. It involves creating new routines, establishing new relationships, and developing a sense of stability and confidence in the new state.

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6) Nudge theory 

Nudge theory is based on the understanding that biases, heuristics, and environmental factors often influence human decisions. It suggests that individuals can be nudged towards making better choices or adopting desired behaviours without the need for mandates or direct enforcement.  

The application of nudge theory spans various domains, including public policy, healthcare, finance, and marketing. The basic principles of the theory include: 

a) Defining the changes 

b) Factoring in the employee’s perspective 

c) Showcasing proof to determine the best options 

d) Mentioning that the change is a choice 

e) Considering employee feedback 

f) Limiting options 

g) Celebrating short-term wins to establish change 

7) Kübler-Ross Change Curve 

The Kübler-Ross Change Curve is a Change Management model developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. It explains the emotional journey individuals often experience when faced with significant change or loss.  

Although originally applied to the process of grieving, the model has also been widely used to understand and navigate the emotional response to organisational change. It explains the five stages that individuals go through when presented with a change:  

a) Denial: The first stage is characterised by denial and disbelief. Individuals may resist accepting the reality of the change and may try to maintain the status quo. They may downplay the significance of the change or ignore the signs that it is happening.  

b) Anger: As the reality of the change sets in, individuals may experience anger and frustration. They may question why the change is happening, feel a sense of injustice, or direct their anger towards those responsible for implementing it. Anger can manifest as resistance.  

c) Bargaining: In the bargaining stage, individuals may try to negotiate or find a way to minimise the impact of the change. They may seek compromises or make deals to regain some control or alleviate their fears and concerns.  

d) Depression: Depression is a stage characterised by sadness, loss, and resignation. Individuals may feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the change and its challenges.  

e) Acceptance: The final stage of the Kübler-Ross Change Curve is acceptance. In this stage, individuals come to terms with the change and accept the new reality. They embrace the change, find ways to work within the new framework, and develop a sense of optimism for the future. 

8) The Deming Cycle (PDCA) 

The Deming Cycle, or the PDCA cycle, is a continuous improvement model developed by renowned statistician and management consultant Dr W. Edwards Deming. PDCA is an acronym for Plan, Do, Check, and Act, which are the four stages of the cycle aiming for effective Change Management. The four stages are as follows:

The Deming Cycle (PDCA)

a) Plan: In this stage, organisations identify a problem or opportunity for improvement and develop a plan to address it. Planning includes gathering data, analysing the current state, setting targets, and creating a roadmap for implementation. 

b) Do: This is the execution phase where organisations put the planned actions into practice. This may involve testing new processes, conducting pilot projects, or implementing changes on a small scale. 

c) Check: The Check stage evaluates and assesses the outcomes and data collected during the Do stage. Organisations compare the actual results against the planned targets and analyse the data to determine if the desired improvements have been achieved. 

d) Act: The Act stage involves taking action based on the insights obtained from the Check stage. It is about making adjustments, implementing corrective measures, and refining the processes to achieve better results.

This stage may involve making changes to the original plan, revising targets, or refining the implementation strategy based on the feedback and analysis conducted in the previous stages. 

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9) The Satir change model 

The Satir Change Model is a Change Management model that explains the process individuals and systems go through when faced with change. Satir's model focuses on the emotional and psychological aspects of change and highlights the importance of communication, self-esteem, and unity in navigating change effectively. The Satir Change Model consists of five stages:  

a) Late status quo: The first stage represents the current state or the status quo. It is the familiar and predictable state that individuals or systems are accustomed to right before the change is introduced.  

b) Resistance: The resistance stage begins when the comfort provided by the prior stage ceases. The arrival of the change is represented as a foreign element, which could be an external event, a new idea, or an internal realisation that prompts the need for change.  

c) Chaos: The chaos stage is a period of heightened uncertainty, confusion, and emotional turmoil. It is a transition stage where the old patterns and ways of functioning break down, and new possibilities emerge. Intense emotions, conflicts, and disorientation characterise the chaos stage.  

d) Integration: This stage of the Satir Change Model represents the re-establishment of stability and the integration of the changes into the individual or system. In this stage, individuals or systems adapt to the new reality, develop new behaviour patterns, and achieve a renewed sense of balance and unity.  

e) New status quo: This stage represents the acceptance of the change as it is now embedded in the organisation’s culture. It is no longer a new skill but of second nature to the employees. 

10) The Change Acceleration Process (CAP) 

The Change Acceleration Process (CAP) is a Change Management Model developed by General Electric (GE). It provides a structured approach to implementing and accelerating organisational change. CAP is designed to facilitate the adoption of new strategies, processes, or technologies within an organisation. There are four stages in this process, which are as follows:  

a) Creating a need for change: The first stage of CAP involves creating a need for change by identifying and communicating the reasons behind the change. It involves highlighting the benefits and potential consequences of the change and addressing any resistance or scepticism among employees to promote effective Change Management.  

b) Mobilising commitment: The second stage of CAP is about mobilising commitment from key stakeholders and employees. This stage involves creating a guiding coalition of influential leaders who can champion the change effort and serve as change agents.  

c) Making change happen: The third stage focuses on making change happen by implementing the necessary actions and initiatives. This stage includes developing detailed plans, allocating resources, and providing employees with training and support.   

d) Institutionalising change: The final stage of CAP is about institutionalising change and ensuring its long-term sustainability. This stage involves embedding the transition into the organisation's culture, processes, and systems. It includes capturing and sharing best practices, celebrating successes, and recognising employees' contributions for producing effective Change Management results.  


Gaining an in-depth understanding of Change Management Models can help you implement changes effectively and efficiently in your organisation. We hope the contents of this blog have successfully taken you through the 10 best Change Management Models you can use. 

Acquire the skills required to generate successful transformations in any industry by signing up for our Change Management Training Courses now! 

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