October 20, 2015

The Fundamentals of Change Management

Managing change in the workplace can be tricky business, but it’s unavoidable in today’s rapidly changing global economy. How well a company adjusts its strategies and structures to changing conditions will determine its success. This article outlines two fundamental theories of change management and its various phases of transition.

Changing Times

Modern business is permanently confronted with change processes that are triggered both from the outside as well as the inside. Internal triggers include reforming the corporate strategy, introducing new management concepts or changing personnel structure. External triggers can include changing customer demands, new competitors, technological progress, new political and economic policies and globalization. Companies need to adapt in order to withstand these changes and remain competitive. For this purpose it is necessary to involve employees in the change. You must be convinced of the necessity of the change process and, ultimately, promote its implementation in the company.


3-phase model of Kurt Lewin

Phychologist Kurt Lewing formulated and summarized a 3-phase model to describe a company in the context of its changing process. Accordingly, the changes take place in the following phases:

change model

  1. Fanning (Unfreezing)
    Preparation of all those involved in the change process and identifying problems of the current situation. Meaning and need for change must be communicated to establish the readiness for change.
  2. Movement (Movement)
    Changes and new standards are introduced and established slowly. In this adjustment phase, the last change deniers have to be convinced that it’s worth trying to establish new realities.
  3. Freezing (Refreezing)
    Establishing the changes introduced and problem-solving. Until these have manifested as the new status quo in the subconscious of people, falling back into old patterns by monitoring compliance with all changes must be prevented.

Process of change in 8 stages by John Kotter

The 3 phases of change according to Lewin have been further developed with the 8 phases of a change process by John Kotter.

Kurt Lewin

The phase of fanning effected by this…
1. Generating a sense of urgency for change.
2. Establishing a pioneering management team.
3. Developing a vision of change and an implementation plan.

During the movement and familiarization phase…
4. Vision is advertised to convince employees.
5. Employees ample room for maneuver offered as motivation to act on changes.
6. Short-term successes are made possible.
In the third phase of freezing it comes to…
7. Securing successes achieved and advancing by further amendments.
8. Creating sustainability through anchoring and controlling of achieved change.

Dare to change!

The 3 phases of change according to Lewin are to the effect substantiated by the remarks made by Kotter that discusses certain management measures during the various stages of change. When these are heeded and implemented successfully, change management pays off in the long term.
“Nothing is as constant as change,” said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. A modern company should respond to the challenges of change and be flexible and open-minded in order to advance.

8 stages

Change Management with PowerPoint

Before you can successfully apply, plan and implement change management in your company, we have put together a set for you with various working aids such as charts, explanations, matrices, charts, checklists and more.

See our video to preview change management PowerPoint templates:


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