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Kotter and lewins change and positive models

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 2090 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Change management deals with adapting and controlling change. For an organization, change management is “defining and implementing procedures and/or technologies to deal with changes in the business environment and to profit from changing opportunities”. (searchcio-midmarket.techtarget.com/definition)

There is always a need for the change to happen as the world is changing. Therefore, some models can help an organization to implement change successfully.

Kotter’s Change Model

John Kotter is a change expert who is a professor at Harvard Business School. Kotter introduced a famous change process that consists of eight steps in his 1995 book, “Leading Change”.

Step One: Create Urgency

For an organization to let the change happen, this step is a primary motivation for the things to happen. Therefore, the first task is to develop a sense of urgency. (mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM)

Step Two: Form a Guiding Coalition

For the change to happen, the change needs to be managed as well as led. Hence, there is a requirement for strong leadership as well as the support from important employees of the organization. (Strategies-for-managing-change.com/john-kotter)

Step Three: Developing a Change Vision

Developing a clear vision will help out to simplify the decisions, motivates employees to go for the change even it is hard for them, and helps to organize the actions in a hasty and well-organized way. (kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/Change Steps/Step3)

Step Four: Communicating the Vision for Buy-in

It is not about developing a clear vision, but the vision has to reach all the employees of the organization. For this to happen, the vision should be communicated in hour-by-hour activities. Communication can also be done through meetings, emails, and presentations. It should be communicated anywhere and everywhere in order to let the employee have a clear idea about the change to happen. While communicating the change be honest and concentrate on the emotional dimension of the people’s fears and concerns. (kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/ChangeSteps/Step5, strategies-for-managing-change.com/john-kotter)

Step Five: Empowering People and Removing Barriers

Removing barriers will help the people to do their best work and empowers them to execute vision. This will result in change to happen. (mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM, kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/ChangeSteps/Step5)

Step Six: Generating Short-term wins

Generating short-term wins will definitely encourage the employees. The employee confidence will increase and will adapt to the change as well as will be satisfied with his work. Organizing a change without looking at short-term performance is always risky. One cannot know where they stand and how far is the destination. (kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/ChangeSteps/Step6)

Step Seven: Don’t Let Up!

There is always a chance for the resistance to occur even success occurs in the early stages. There is fear of change with everyone. Letting up will create problems and the momentum can be lost. Therefore, the organization has to consolidate gains and produce more change. (kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/ChangeSteps/Step7)

Step Eight: Make it stick

Culture is deeply rooted in an organization and is the hardest thing to change. Every associate of the organization indoctrinates into the culture of the organization without realizing it. Therefore, new approaches have to be anchored and should be deeply rooted in order to stay strongly in the culture. (kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/ChangeSteps/Step8)

Strengths and Weaknesses

The strength of this model is that it concentrates on all aspects for the change to happen in an organization. Therefore, by concentrating on all aspects such as communicating the vision, creating a guiding coalition, generating short-term wins, and not letting up will definitely makes the change to happen. Culture is the hardest thing to change in any organization and with the help of this model, the cultural change can happen.

On the other side, the first step speaks about the urgency but it does not concentrate on the purpose for change. Purpose with urgency can only play an effective role together for the change to happen. To implement this model the leaders should be experienced and associates of the organization should support the change.

Lewin’s 3-Stage Model

Kurt Lewin is a psychologist who recognized three stages of change. They are Unfreeze, Change, and Refreeze.

Stage 1: Unfreeze

This stage is an important one that involves reaching to a position of knowing that change is essential. In this stage, creating ideal environment is an important thing for the change to take place. Generally, people get used to the way they are working and they try to resist the change even the change is beneficial one, as it will initially cause discomfort. Therefore, the main theme of this stage is to shift people from this ‘frozen’ state to an ‘unfrozen’ state. (Change-management-coach.com/kurt_lewin, London Management Centre, 2008)

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Stage 2: Change – or Transition

This stage is central to Lewin’s model and is a confusion period at the psychological level. In the transition stage, the changes are made that are essential. Employees will be unfrozen and will be heading in the direction of new way of being. Therefore, people are not clear about new ways that are going to replace the older ways. This clearly shows that this is the hardest stage as employees are not sure or fearful. The main goal of this transition stage is to move employees to the unfrozen state and keep them there. (change-management-coach.com/kurt_lewin, London Management Centre, 2008)

Stage 3: Refreeze

This phase concentrates on elevating the comfort levels and bringing back the stability. It brings people to a stable and productive state from a low productive state. Refreeze is to establish stability after the changes occur. Finally people form new relations start to become comfortable with new changes. (Change-management-coach.com/kurt_lewin, London Management Centre, 2008)

Strengths and Weaknesses

The strength of Lewin’s model is that it is simple and easy to understand. This model concentrates on the fear of employees who oppose the change to happen. This is the main factor, which should be worked out by every organization to bring out change.

However, on the other side, this model does not concentrate on each aspect. For the change to happen all the aspects should be considered such like the aspects covered in Kotters change model.

The Positive Model

The Positive model involves five phases. They are:

Phase 1: Initiate the Inquiry

Initiate the inquiry is to know the subject of change. It points up the associate participation to recognize the organizational issue they have the most energy to address. (Cummings & Worley, 2009)

Phase 2: Inquire into best practices

Inquire into best practises is assembling data that is the best in the organization. If the subject is organizational innovation, then associates of the organization helps to build up an interview protocol which contains the information about the new ideas that were developed and carried out in the organization. The members of the organization conduct the interviews: they interview each other and let them know the information or stories about the innovations in which the members are personally involved. These stories are gathered to form a group of information, which describes the organization as an innovative system. (Cummings & Worley, 2009)

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Phase 3: Discover the themes

Discovering themes is about the members of the organization who look at the stories that are gathered previously which may include both small and large, to recognize a set of themes which are demonstrating the common scope of people’s experiences. For instance, the stories of innovation that are collected may contain themes about how much freedom each individual gets from the managers in exploring a new idea, how much support the coworkers provided to the organization members, or how to exposure to customers sparked ingenious ideas. No theme is small in case of representation; it is very important to describe all the core mechanisms that help to generate and support the themes. The themes symbolises the basis for moving from “what is” to “what could be”. (Cummings & Worley, 2009)

Phase 4: Envision a preferred future

Members that scan the identified themes, challenge the status quo, and describe a compelling future. Based on the organizations successful past, members collectively picture the organizations future and develop “possibility proportions”- statements that bridge the organizations current best practices with ideal possibilities for future organizing. These proportions should present a truly exciting, provocative, and possible picture of the future. Based on these possibilities, members discover the relevant stakeholders and critical organization processes that must be aligned to support emergences of the envisioned future. The vision becomes a statement of “what should be”. (Cummings & Worley, 2009)

Phase 5: Design and Deliver Ways to Create the Future

This phase illustrates the activities and the plans necessary to bring vision. It progresses to both action and assessment phase comparable to action research described earlier. Members of the organization make modifications, weigh up the results and make necessary adjustments, to move the organization towards the vision and nourish “what will be”. The course of action is continued by restoring the discussion about what the best is. (Cummings & Worley, 2009)

Strengths and Weaknesses

The strength of this model is that it concentrates on the main issue and tries to solve the problem by using the best practises of the organization. The weakness of this model is that there is no urgency, which is essential for the change as sometimes the organizations might run out of time. If the change does not happen before the time passes away then the work made by the organization goes in vain.


The three change models Kotter’s change model, Lewin’s 3-stage model, and the positive model are different from each other. These three models can be used by any organization for the change to happen.

Kotter’s change model is a brief model that concentrates on every small aspect. The only problem with the Kotter’s change model is that it focuses on urgency but not on purpose. Without knowing purpose of change, the urgency will have no reason and everyone will be doing things quickly without purpose. By considering the purpose, this model can be most preferable for an organization to implement change. This model makes sure that the change need to occur is communicated to everyone and concentrates on building the momentum with short-term wins. The culture of the organization can be changed that is deeply rooted.

Lewis 3-stage model is a simple model it concentrates on moving people from their old style of working. People always have a fear of change, which is the biggest opposition of the change to happen. This model concentrates on moving people from a stage of freezing to refreeze stage. This model does not concentrate on all the small aspects.

The positive model is different from Kotter’s and Lewin’s model. It enquires about the problem and uses the best practices of the organization to solve the problem. This helps the change to happen. However, there is no sense of urgency that is a major problem. When compared to Kotter’s model it is not as detailed as that model.

Every model has some strength. Therefore, it is always better to go for the three models, opt for the best things from the models, and implement them for the change to happen. Speaking about best of the three models, my choice is Kotter’s change model as it concentrates on all the aspects for the change to happen.


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