A change management strategy is a deliberate approach that empowers leaders to effectively navigate organizational change, minimizing disruption and unexpected risks. Ultimately, the success of change initiatives often hinges on the ability to effectively lead and support people through the transition. The concept of managing changes in business strategy is relatively recent. Prior to the late 1940s, leadership models were typically straightforward: the boss made a decision to change, and subordinates implemented it accordingly.

Regardless of the type or size of the change, it is likely to disrupt both employees and business processes. Even small changes, no matter how well-intentioned or necessary, can lead to unintended consequences. As changes become larger and more complex, the risks and challenges increase, emphasizing the need for a systematic and structured approach [1].

To navigate these challenges effectively, several notable change management frameworks include the Kotter Model, developed by Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter, the McKinsey 7-S Model by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman from the 1970s, and the three-stage change model pioneered by Kurt Lewin. We will delve into the details of the latter [2]. According to Lewinʼs model, a typical change process has three main steps: unfreeze, change, and refreeze [3]. During the first change process or “unfreeze” phase managers play crucial roles in driving organizational change by effectively communicating its necessity, fostering urgency, and motivating stakeholders with a compelling vision of the future. They build support through influential coalitions, develop detailed change plans with input from key stakeholders, and define necessary new behaviors for successful adaptation. These proactive steps empower managers to navigate change and achieve impactful transformation within their organizations. 

In the second stage of change, managers translate the vision into action by reshaping company strategies and systems. They define new behaviors, lead by example, and provide support to reinforce changes. Managers address morale, remove obstacles, and communicate the vision to maintain employee engagement and commitment. These actions are vital for successful organizational transformation. 

In the third stage of organizational change, managers are tasked with ensuring lasting transformation by maintaining momentum and institutionalizing new operations, processes, and behaviors. They align incentives to prevent reverting to traditional routines and consistently evaluate progress to identify additional improvements. These efforts are crucial for embedding and sustaining successful organizational change over time. Exploring the concept of change can be valuable through the lens of a change equation:

Pr Ch =D*M*P>C

The probability of change (Pr(Ch)) is determined by multiplying the values of D, M, and P together, and then comparing the result to the value of C. If the product of D, M, and P is greater than C, then there is a high probability of change [4]. Where: D- is dissatisfaction with the status quo; M- a model of the desired future; P- a process of change, C- the cost of change, as employees perceive them.

In conclusion, successful organizational change hinges on several key factors. Firstly, there must be a sense of dissatisfaction among employees with the current state of affairs, instilling a desire for change and improvement. Secondly, managers need to articulate a compelling vision of the desired future state, encompassing both tangible elements like strategies and structures, as well as intangible aspects such as values and attitudes. Additionally, a well-defined process for change is essential, involving strategic sequencing of activities like meetings, training, and engagement to secure commitment and compliance. Furthermore, stakeholders must perceive that the benefits of change outweigh the anticipated costs and losses, which often revolve around personal factors like power dynamics, self-esteem, and relationships. Lastly, managers should focus on increasing the factors contributing to change (D, M, and P) while minimizing the perceived costs (C) associated with change. This involves leveraging various strategies and tactics to optimize the equation and facilitate successful organizational transformation.


“7 Reasons Why Change Management Strategies Fail and How to Avoid Them” URL: https://professional.dce.harvard.edu/blog/7-reasons-why-change-management-strategies-fail-and-how-to-avoid-them/ (date of application: 10.03.2024).

“Top 8 change management models: a comparison guide” URL: https://www.zendesk.co.uk/blog/change-management-models/ (date of application: 10.03.2024).

A 3-step change management framework for business URL: https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/a-3-step-framework-for-managing-organizational-change (date of application: 10.03.2024).

“Management Essentials” online course provided by Harvard Business School. URL: https://pll.harvard.edu/course/management-essentials (date of application: 10.03.2024).