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ADKAR and Lewin's Change Theories

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Amie King

on 27 January 2014

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Transcript of ADKAR and Lewin's Change Theories

People dimension is key!
People change, not organizations

* Study of 248 companies cited effective change
with employees
as one of the
top three overall success factors for a project

* Problems with the people dimension is most
commonly cited reason for project failures

• Underlying framework
1. The Business Dimension
• business need/opportunity identified
• project is defined (scope and objectives)
• business solution is designed (new processes, systems,
& organizational structure)
• new processes and systems are developed
• solution implemented into the organization

1. Unfreeze – Most people make an active effort to resist change. In order to overcome this tendency, a period of thawing or unfreezing must be initiated through motivation.
2. Transition – Once change is initiated, the company moves into a transition period, which may last for some time. Adequate leadership and reassurance is necessary for the process to be successful.
3. Refreeze – After change has been accepted and successfully implemented, the company becomes stable again, and staff refreezes as they operate under the new guidelines.

Driving forces
• Driving forces are forces that push in a direction that causes change to occur.
• Driving forces facilitate change because they push the person in the desired direction.
• They cause a shift in the equilibrium towards change.
Change Theories: ADKAR and Lewin
• First published by Prosci in 1998 after
research with over 300 companies
undergoing major change

• A sequential, goal-oriented change management model
2. The People Dimension

wareness for the need for change

esire to participate and support the change

nowledge of how to change
(and what the change looks like)

bility to implement the change of a day-to-day basis

einforcement to keep the change in place
While this change management model remains widely used today, it is takes time to implement. Since it is easy to use, most companies tend to prefer this model to enact major changes.
ADKAR can be used to:
o diagnose employee resistance
to change
o help employees transition
through change
o create a successful action
plan for personal and
professional advancement
during change
o develop a change management
plan for employees

Psychologist Kurt Lewin created another change management model. He noted that the majority of people tend to prefer and operate within certain zones of safety.
Lewin's phases of change are "unfreezing, change, and freezing" and describe how people react and adapt to change.
Three Stages of Change
Lewin's theory states behavior is "a dynamic balance of forces working in opposing directions. "
Restraining forces
• Restraining forces are forces that counter driving forces.
• Restraining forces hinder change because they push the person in the opposite direction.
• Restraining forces cause a shift in the equilibrium which opposes change
• Equilibrium is a state of being where driving forces equal restraining forces and no change occurs
• Equilibrium can be raised or lowered by changes that occur between the driving and restraining forces
Lewin's model is very rational, goal and plan oriented. It does not take into account personal factors that can affect change.
Comparing & Contrasting ADKAR & Lewin
change doesn't happen overnight; focus on transition
emphasis on motivating people
goal oriented
both account for the need to sustain the change
very little emphasis on any resistances
structured, step-by-step model to follow
no focus on the personal side of change
Does not provide specific tasks related to leadership vs. management

Fails to see the "macro" side of project management
For more information:
The Kurt Lewin Center for Psychological Research at Kazimierz Wielki University -
Kurt Lewin: groups, experiential learning and action research -
Kurt Lewin Institute (a graduate student training institute in Social Psychology in the Netherlands) -

based from
"benchmark studies" in 62 countries around the world.
Research is continuous and ongoing: over 2600
participants to-date.
Studies explore a wide range of disciplines
within the change management
Full transcript