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people management through change

in order to understand why we need people management through change. we need to understand the change first. According to (Charron, Harrington, Voehl, & Wiggin, 2014, p. 436) “Business conditions change and yesterday’s assumptions and practices no longer work”. which will lead the organizations to change its operation and/or processes to introduce new products or services. Although, change is not an easy activity. As suggested by (Waddell & Sohal, 1998) “implementing change is a very difficult task”. Change is complex process and need to be managed properly. (Karp & Helgø, 2009) proposed that “change initiatives do not fail because of lack of grand visions or designs: they fail because leaders do not understand the complexities they are facing”.

During people management through change leader face numerous challenges. One of the most famous theories that discuss the challenges during changes is Lewain Force-Field Theory.

Kurt Lewin’s Force-Field Theory

(Lewin, 1951) presented the Force-Field theory which propose that there are two sets of forces (the drivers for change and the resistance to change). Those forces are opposition to each other. The state of inertia where the two forces are in balance. (Lewin, 1951) suggested that the organization need to increase the power of forces for change in order make the change. If the two forces are in balance the organization can not implement the change process.

Kurt Lewin’s Force-Field Theory
Kurt Lewin’s Force-Field Theory

Resistance to change

Usually, academic and business consider resistance as an impediment to change. (Maurer, 1996) defines resistance as “a force that slows or stops movement”. Also, (Sharma, 2006, p. 88) describe it as “deviant behavior that needs to be cured”. (O′Connor, 1993) proposed that “resistance is opposition or withholding of support for specific plans or ideas.”
Although, significant number of researchers focus on the positive character of resistance. (Sharma, 2006, p. 88) suggested to “the use of resistance to build support for change”. Also, (Waddell & Sohal, 1998) propose that “resistance plays a crucial role indrawing attention to aspects of change that may be inappropriate”. Also, “Resistance is what keeps us from attaching ourselves to every boneheaded idea that comes along” (Maurer, 1996)
First, project manager need to explore the resistance. (O′Connor, 1993) suggested that “To resolve resistance, a manager must willingly explore what causes it. There is no other way”. “Discovering precisely who is resisting and why, is the real task when managing change.” (O′Connor, 1993) Sometimes, “resistors themselves don’t realize that they are withholding support” (O′Connor, 1993).

Change and Transition in people management through change

Change is situational; which might be moving to new site the retirement of the founder. Where transition is psychological where people forget the old world and create a new world. “it is a three-phase process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation that the change brings about” (Bridges, 2011) , below are the three processes:

  1. Ending, losing, letting go: letting go the old way, understanding what they are losing and how to manage their losses. They identify what is being left and over. And what will remain.
  2. The neutral zone: the second phase. When people understand what they lost. Although, the new is not fully operate. It is the stage when people left the old way, but still trying to understand the new way. It is not comfortable to them, but it is the most critical phase in the transition.
  3. The new beginning: the final phase, when transition is completed, and new beginning is created. People developed the new identity, discovered new sense of purpose
The three phases of transition
The three phases of transition


The five stages of grief

(Kübler-Ross model) analysis the people behoove toward changes. They believe that people experience five stages when conforting changes from external world. the five stages of change process and adjustment: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (Kübler-Ross, 2014)

The process of change and adjustment
The process of change and adjustment


The five stages of grief has been constructed for ill patent, although, number of researchers developed this approach in the management studies field. (Satir & Banmen, 1991) utilize the five stages of grief model and developed their change process theory. They suggested that there are three stages. First, there is the old status quo. Where people maintain the old way of doing things. Then, change process staring until end of process reached and new status quo implemented.


Satir's model for change process
Satir’s model for change process

Factors Causing Resistance to change

Several researchers stress on the fact that failure of many changes initiatives can be caused by people resistance to change. According to (Oreg, 2003) people resist change due to routine seeking; emotional reaction to imposed change; short-term focus; and cognitive rigidity. “The key to the problem is to understand the true nature of resistance. What employees resist is usually not a technical change but a social change” (Sharma, 2006, p. 90)
Also, (O′Connor, 1993) described five reasons that might be causing the resistance to change:

  • not accepting the need for change
  • not understanding the need for change
  • not accepting the objects of the change
  • not accepting the achievability of the change
  • not accepting the implantation methodology of the change

Likewise, as per (Sharma, 2006) Kantar (1985) identified various type of resistance (represented in appendices 1). according to (Karp & Helgø, 2009) the economist John Maynard Keynes once said, “The greatest difficulty in the world is not for people to accept new ideas, but to make them forget their old ideas”.

implementation of the change

“Proper planning of the implementation can help mitigate the likelihood of failure of change” (Self & Schraeder, 2009). During the implementation of the change, project Manager “must avoid any overreaction to resistance once it is discovered” (O′Connor, 1993). Change is difficult, and resistance is expected. Thus, the change need to be communicated properly. “The timing and form of this communication are important” (Karp & Helgø, 2009). As proposed by (Karp & Helgø, 2009) “change in organizations is the shifting of identities and relationships accomplished by communication”. Project manager needs to make sure that “Communication comes in both words and deeds” (Kotter J. P., 1996). And he need to make sure that the team “understand fully what is necessary in guiding their organizations through a change initiative” (Self & Schraeder, 2009). During the change process project manager must be flexible. As suggest by (O′Connor, 1993) “Flexibility allows flexibility”.
Due to the limitation of this report, we will analysis three of the most famous theories in the change process studies.

Kotter Eight-Stage Change Process

American change and leadership guru John Kotter (Kotter J. P., 1996) developed eight stage process to manage changes,

  1. Establishing a sense of urgency: studying the market needs and understanding the need for competitive advantage. Then, Identifying and discussing the change requirement.
  2. Creating the guiding coalition: formalize a team with enough power to lead the change. And make them work together like a team.
  3. Developing a vision and strategy: outline the change vision and objectives which will lead the change process
  4. Communicating the change vision: utilize all available channels to make sure that the new vision and strategies communicate correctly.
  5. Empowering broad-based action: eliminate barriers and modify old procedures and policies, any procedure that might challenge the change process need to be eliminated. And then, encourage risk taken initiatives. Support the process with new thoughts and activities.
  6. Generating short-term wins: Develop a plan with achievable patches or “wins”. Then, celebrate those patches when reached and reward people who made it. “Resistance also occurs from this source when company leaders have not presented clear goals.” (O′Connor, 1993)
  7. Consolidating gains and producing more change: Utilize the short-terms wins and achievements to change all procedures and policies that challenge the change vision. Or procedures that does not fit together. recognize the people who achieve the short-term goals.
  8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture: plug the new change into the organization culture. Demonstrate the new performance to the team and management. Integrate the new change into the organization behaviors and process.


ADKAR model

One of the most common model in leading changes is the ADKAR model, which is an abbreviation for (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement). The ADKAR model “is a framework for understanding change at an individual level” (Hiatt, 2006)

  1. Awareness: team understanding the need for the change. The team must understand why the organization is implementing this change. What the organization will lose if the change is not implemented. All information about the change must be communicated to the team in order to make sure that every one is accepting the change.
  2. Desire: team must be motivated and ready to support the change vision. The team should be willing to participate in the process of the change and any barriers should be removed and eliminated. Every team member should be understanding the change and willing to be part of it.
  3. Knowledge team must be able to perform the change. This is including the required training and know-how to process with the change. All processes and procedures should be known to the team. Team members should be familiar with any tools and systems that is required by the change.
  4. Ability team must be able to perform or execute the change. This happen when the team is capable of doing the change process in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the change.
  5. Reinforcement make sure that the change will sustain and fit to organization procedures and processes.

the Burke-Litwin Change Model

The Burke-Litwin change model outlined and defined 12 organizational factors. And analyzed the cause-and-effect between them. The Burke-Litwin change model mainly focus on the relation and links between those 12 organizational factors. “Organizations accomplish macro-organization change by focusing on the transformational (top) boxes of the model and micro-organization change is achieved by focusing on the transactional (bottom) boxes of the model” (Burke & Noumair, 2015, p. 167)

  1. External Environment: study and identify the external factors that might directly and non-directly influence or impact the organization changes or process.
  2. Mission and Strategy: study and identify the organization vision, mission and methodologies. Those vision, mission and methodologies should be investigated with the team involvement.
  3. Leadership: investigated and analysis the organization structure and the leadership structure
  4. Organizational Culture: study and identify the organization rules, regulation and behaviors that might impact the organization culture and actions.
  5. Structure: investigated and analysis the organization functional structure (not the hierarchical structure). All factors that might impact the process should be analyzed.
  6. Systems: study and identify the policies, rules and procedures that might impact the organization or the people.
  7. Management Practices: investigated and analysis the managers methodologies during the operation of the organization. How the manage act when dealing with people and resources.
  8. Work Unit Climate: study and identify the organization staff culture, what is their expectation, how do they feel about the operation, what is the relation between the staff.
  9. Tasks and Skills: study and identify the requirement of the jobs and positions. The know-how and experience that employee must have.
  10. Individual Values and Needs: study and identify the staff requirement of the work. What factors that will reach the performance or enhance the employee satisfaction
  11. Motivation Level: study and identify the staff motivation level. How to import the motivation and how to make them perform better.
  12. Individual and Overall Performance: study and identify the overall performance for both Individual and organization.
the Burke-Litwin Change Model
the Burke-Litwin Change Model

The leadership styles

Numerous researches analysis the leadership skills and styles. I suggest working with Goleman since it focus on the leadership style during change process. “Goleman links the competence of leaders directly to business results” (Green & Cameron, 2004). The six style by Goleman underpinned on emotional intelligence.
(Goleman, 2017) identifies six styles of leadership style in any situation or during any phase of the change. Goleman “identifies the situations in which each style is effective” (Green & Cameron, 2004).
Thus, project manager need to carefully select the leadership style during the change stages. (Pinnow, 2011) proposed that “a manager’s success increases with the number of styles of leadership he or she is able to utilize effectively”. Using only one style will lead the change to fail. leaders use the numerous of leadership styles and flawlessly adjust these styles dependent on the business situation. “Highly competent upper-level managers correctly align their behavior to the situation not by behaving mechanically” (Pinnow, 2011). (Goleman, 2017) suggested that “Leaders who have mastered four or more—especially the authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching styles—have the very best climate and business performance”. Also, he emphasis on that fact that “most effective leaders switch flexibly among the leadership styles as needed”

  1. The coercive style: demand instant obedience. “the coercive one is the least effective in most situations” (Goleman, 2017). This style need be applied carefully and when crisis arises only. “the coercive style should be used only with extreme caution and in the few situations when it is absolutely imperative” (Goleman, 2017). This style must be used with other styles, it might cause mistrust when overuse.
  2. The authoritative style this style require a trusted leader who need to change the process. He define the goals and the team define the procedures. “the authoritative one is most effective” (Goleman, 2017). work only when leader is well respected. “An authoritative leader states the end but generally gives people plenty of leeway to devise their own means.” (Goleman, 2017). (Pinnow, 2011) proposed that “manager provides the frameworks and goals but does not limit the freedom or direct responsibility of the employees”
  3. The affiliative style energies people towards a goal. “This leadership style revolves around people” (Goleman, 2017). Help when broken relation and provide support to “repair broken trust” (Goleman, 2017). (Pinnow, 2011) proposed that “major task of the manager is to foster harmony and strong emotional connections”. This style also cannot be used alone. If not applied correctly it might cause that poor performance, go without correction. Since this style evolve around people, another style need to be implanted to set the direction and create the progress.
  4. Democratic actively encourage team involvement in decision-making. When the team is more experience than the leader in the know-how. Team will create ideas and help with the process. although, this style is not good when the team lake of experience. They will not get results. Democratic style required great communication, listening, and negotiation skills
  5. Pacesetting set high standards of performance. These individuals expect excellence and self-direction from those they lead. This style of leadership required a highly motivated team. And the team does not required any supervision or direction.
  6. Coaching expand and develop people’s skills. user when individual needs a new skill or knowledge as part of change process. This style is time-consuming style and need time and effort. Thus, it is one of least used styles.

Finally, project manager need to utilize different styles during different phases of the change. “transformational leaders are more likely to be proactive than reactive in their thinking; more creative, novel, and innovative in their ideas; more radical or reactionary than reforming or conservative in ideology” (Tichy & Devanna, 1990, p. 124). He needs to compound the affiliative style and the authoritative style. This allow him to gain trust and make other team member to participate in the change process. and allow other managers and team members to be free which will result in achieving the change objectives since other managers and team member are experienced and have the know-how. As suggested by (O′Connor, 1993) “Leaders should encourage group members to give feedback and contribute ideas: both positive and negative.” Also, (Waddell & Sohal, 1998) suggested that “involvement in the learning, planning and implementation stages of a change process significantly influences commitment to change and apparently lowers resistance.”


Bridges, W. (2011). Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Burke, W. W., & Noumair, D. A. (2015). Organization Development (Paperback): A Process of Learning and Changing. FT Press.
Burke, W. W., Lake, G. D., & Paine, J. W. (2008). Organization Change: A Comprehensive Reader. John Wiley & Sons.
Charron, R., Harrington, H. J., Voehl, F., & Wiggin, H. (2014). The Lean Management Systems Handbook. CRC Press.
Coulson‐Thomas, C. (2005). Creating a winning board: differing approaches of the boards of successful and struggling companies. Industrial and Commercial Training, pp.67-72.
Fama, E. F., & Jensen, M. C. (1983). Separation of Ownership and Control. The Journal of Law & Economics, 301-325.
Goleman, D. (2017). Leadership That Gets Results (Harvard Business Review Classics). Harvard Business Press.
Green, M., & Cameron, E. (2004). Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change. Kogan Page Publishers.
Hiatt, J. (2006). ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government, and Our Community. Prosci.
Karp, T., & Helgø, T. I. (2009). Reality revisited: leading people in chaotic change. Journal of Management Development, 28(2), 81-93.
Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading Change. Harvard Business Press.
Kotter, J. P., & Schlesinger. (1979). Choosing strategies for change. Harvard Business Review, 106-14.
Kübler-Ross, E. (2014). On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families. Simon and Schuster.
Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science: selected theoretical papers. Harper.
Maurer, R. (1996). Using resistance to build support. Journal for Quality & Participation.
McGregor, D. (1960). The human side of enterprise. McGraw-Hill.
O′Connor, C. A. (1993). Resistance: The Repercussions of Change. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 14(6), 30-36.
Oreg, S. (2003). Resistance to change: developing an individual differences measure. Journal of Applied Psychology.
Pfeffer, J., & Salancik, G. R. (2003). The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective. Stanford University Press.
Pinnow, D. F. (2011). Leadership – What Really Matters: A Handbook on Systemic Leadership. Springer Science & Business Media.
Satir, V., & Banmen, J. (1991). The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond. Science and Behavior Books.
Self, D. R., & Schraeder, M. (2009). Enhancing the success of organizational change: Matching readiness strategies with sources of resistance. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 30(2), 167-182.
Sharma. (2006). Change Management. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.
Tichy, N. M., & Devanna, M. A. (1990). The Transformational Leader: The Key to Global Competitiveness. Wiley.
Waddell, D., & Sohal, A. S. (1998). Resistance: a constructive tool for change management. Management Decision, 36(8), 543-548.

Salem Alanzi Administrator
Project Manager
Arabic blogger, writing about project management ,human resources , startups thoughts and business ideas.
Salem Alanzi Administrator
Project Manager
Arabic blogger, writing about project management ,human resources , startups thoughts and business ideas.

About Salem Alanzi

Arabic blogger, writing about project management ,human resources , startups thoughts and business ideas.

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  1. It’s valid. Change is consistent. It’s constant to the point that you would figure we would all be utilized to it at this point. Be that as it may, we’re definitely not. Regardless of whether your association is attempting to discover and hold ability, your group is handling another course, or amazingly, one more departmental revamping is occurring, we as a whole face change as often as possible—gazing into it’s beady, relentless, and regularly terrifying, little eyes.

    Driving through change smoothly can appear to be unimaginable now and again. You don’t know where the following turn or turn will take you. Also, far more atrocious, your group may feel much more on edge, since they accept they know less about the future than you do. The critical thing is to not give change a chance to overpower you, and as a pioneer, not let yourself overpower your group. What’s more, that is the place we can help. Whenever you’re looked with a sudden change, handle it in walk with these straightforward however pivotal rules and regulations.

  2. In a great many studies, Prosci has seen a shared factor to effectively progressing people through change. This consistent idea is a man who assumes a crucial job in change, and has awesome impact over an individual representative changing.This is a man who workers look to, overwhelmingly more than any other individual in the association, to see how a change or activity will influence their everyday work. This is a man that change chiefs need to guarantee is going to play a part with the change and enabled to lead their representatives to meet undertaking destinations. This individual is the chief.

    Prosci’s Prescribed procedures in Change Administration report affirmed this: directors can be an awesome supporter or a considerable deterrent to fruitful change. The directors’ capacity to lead their representatives through change is frequently the central factor in how rapidly and completely a change is embraced.

  3. Change management is the methodical methodology and use of information, instruments and assets to manage change. It includes characterizing and receiving corporate methodologies, structures, systems and advancements to deal with changes in outside conditions and the business condition. Viable change administration goes past venture administration and specialized undertakings attempted to institute authoritative changes and furthermore includes driving the “general population side” of real change inside an association. The essential objective of progress administration is to effectively execute new procedures, items and business systems while limiting negative results.

  4. Business requests smoothness, which expects pioneers to grasp change and go for broke. Put just, in case you’re not prepared to lead change at that point you’re not prepared to lead full stop.

    Zuckerberg once stated, “In a world that is changing truly rapidly, the main technique that is ensured to come up short isn’t going for broke,” and he was correct. Initiative is certainly not a static undertaking. Fruitful directors recognize the requirement for business advancement as well as are eager and ready to explore their group through change.

    The possibility of progress can be overwhelming. In any case, whenever oversaw effectively, the procedure doesn’t need to be excruciating. In the present quick paced society, the contrast among progress and disappointment can lie in an organization’s capacity to adjust.

    Neglect to develop your business and conform to better approaches for considering, and your business will stagnate and kick the bucket. Change in the business world isn’t a choice, yet an essential for progress. What’s more, driving change adequately is basic for improvement.

  5. Organizations don’t change except if individuals change. Regardless of whether a little subtlety or an exceptional upgrade, odds are that your organization is experiencing a type of progress as you are perusing this. Item refreshes, process enhancements, employing/beat: these are for the most part changes occurring inside our associations. The genuine test comes in overseeing individuals through change.

    Overseeing Individuals through Change Toon

    A few organizations experience more incessant change than others. Being a Business Executive at a SaaS organization, I am encompassed by changes in item and process. Therefore, it winds up fundamental that my group handles these progressions the correct way. I am continually assessing strategies for me to oversee individuals through change. Through my experience and that of awesome pioneers I know, I’ve distinguished three keys to overseeing individuals through change.

  6. My work with associations over the world has reliably featured the requirement for down to earth help; to deal with, oversee and create individuals through change. Initially this lead me to incorporate a section regarding this matter in one of my books ‘The Mainstays of Fruitful Administration’ which has now been refreshed to the book “How to Spare Time and Cash by Overseeing Authoritative Change Viably.”

    This data is to a great extent in view of scholastic and contextual investigation research of 67 associations did without anyone else and my examination group about what is presently named ‘Survivors Disorder’.

  7. Numerous business pioneers approach change administration uneasily – stressed over convincing hesitant staff to acknowledge better approaches for working together. In any case, truth be told, numerous individuals welcome change – if they have an opportunity to team up in it.

    Overseeing individuals through change includes inspiring your kin to cooperate on arranging and rolling out the improvements, and giving your group clear objectives and characterized jobs.

    Great change administration forms begin with a reasonable examination of your business frameworks, forms, structures, procedures and initiative ways to deal with decide the genuine requirement for change.

    Deciding why, what and how you have to change – and including your kin in each progression – will enable you to deal with a smooth change process, reinforce your business and hold your key staff, business abilities and information.

    This guide portrays diverse kinds of progress, clarifies the significance of dealing with a smooth change process, and offers exhortation on rousing your kin to cooperate in rolling out business improvements.

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