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John Kotter’s change model

Categories: Change

The importance is change in business cannot be over stated, organizations are continuously battling with ever changing internal and external forces which have direct impact on the success or failure of a business. Often times change is required and the success of the change management is vital to the future, health and reputation of the business. Most changes are either underachieved or not completed within budget/time (Change, 2009) John Kotter offers eight phases (Kotter, 2014) to follow when managing change process, these include: Increase urgency: This entails exciting people to sign up to change by providing external evidence as to why change is required Build the guiding team: Assemble a change group comprising of energetic, key, committed and powerful members working together to a team to drive home the change

Get the vision right: Create a vision and strategy initiatives to achieve this visionary change

Communicate for Buy-in: By Using effective examples and stories to sustain change alignment and engagement Empowering actions: Remove obstacles that work against the achievement of the change Create shot term wins: With constant tracking and evaluations, recognize and rewards small and large change accomplishments Do not let up: Sustain change acceleration by constantly reinforcing change improvement behaviors Make change stick: Anchor the change in every aspect of the organization

Strengths of Kotter’s change model

The step by step model ensures it is easy to follow, implement and achieve As it involves engaging activities and focus is largely on buy-in the support of the various stake holders rather than the change itself.

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Their acceptance and preparedness for change, using this model, makes change transition easier to achieve and implement The model structure ensures relevant feedback can be gotten from various groups as effective communication is used It ensures all stakeholders concerns are heard and addressed as the change team is made up of various members (Step 2) Celebrating short term wins and rewards builds excitement, motivation and competition amongst the various stakeholders, this encourages them to do more It is an effective tool for organizational cultural change (Step 8)

Limitations of the Kotter’s change model:

The model is rather limited to large organizations with multiple groups and stakeholders.

Smaller organizations will find it difficult to implement The model seeks to change organizational culture which might face enormous resistance from employees. the sequential nature of the model makes it rather rigid in approach (Appelbaum et al, 2012) the model offers no support in dealing with difficulties leaders might encounter while using the model due to the interactive nature of the model with continuous feedback, consultations and reviews the model can take a great deal of time to execute, hence it is rather time consuming (Appelbaum et al, 2012)

Kurt Lewin’s change model

Various factors include organizational change, these influences could be technological, economical or socio-cultural (Jones, 2010). Kurt Lewin’s model suggests that change involves movement from a static state of equilibrium to another state via the influence of external opposing forces. Lewin proposed three stage model of change which includes the following: Unfreeze: This stage seeks to reduce the forces that maintain the current state of organizational equilibrium. Reasons for the change is established and motivation for change is generated (Mind Tools, 2012) Change: Behavioral changes are shifted to the new desired/changed equilibrium state. Changes are effected in the stage with constant communication and hands on management (Mind Tools, 2012) Refreeze: This stage involves activities which ensure change (new equilibrium) is sustained. It also involves celebration of the new equilibrium stage and a new belief that the future will be successful (Mind Tools, 2012)

Strengths of Kurt Lewin’s change model

Implementation is easy due to its simplistic nature, logistics and planning are equally easy It has few steps for follow, progress is also easy to monitor and tract making it an efficient model (Hoogendoorn, 2013) Limitations of Kurt Lewin’s change model

The model fails to consider organizational environment is ever changing and not existing in a static/stable state. The refreeze stage doesn’t have a closure, hence it can drag on till infinity Its simplistic design ensures it can only be used for simple changes where change factors can easily be controlled


Appelbaum, S., S. Habashy, J-L Malo, & H. Shafiq, (2012) ‘Back to the Future: Revisiting Kotter’s 1996 Change Model’, Journal of Management Development, 31 (8) pp.764-782 Change (2009), ‘Change Model 3: John Kotter’s 8 Steps of Leading Change, Available at:, (accessed 19/10/14) Hoogendoorn, R., (2013), ‘The Importance of Change Management (Group 2) Part 2’, Available at:, (accessed 19/10/14) Jones, M. L., (2010) ‘What Do Managers Do During Major Organisational Change’, In Proceedings of the 2010 IABR & ITLC Conference, Littleton, Co.: The Clute Institute for Academic Research, Available at:, (accessed 19/10/14) Kotter (2014), ‘The 8-Step Process for Leading Change’, Available at:, (accessed on: 19/10/14) Mind Tools, (2012) Lewin’s Change Management Model: Understanding the Three Stages of Change, Available at:, (accessed 19/10/14)

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John Kotter’s change model. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

John Kotter’s change model
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