Understanding the Types of Change Management: A Comprehensive Guide

Opening Thoughts – Empowering Transformation

In the dynamic world of business, change is the only constant. Organizations, be they businesses, companies, or institutions, must adapt and adjust to survive and thrive. Change management, a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and entities from a current state to a desired future state, is crucial in this process. This article explores five key types of change management: Organizational Change Management, Individual Change Management, Enterprise Change Management, the Prosci ADKAR Model, and Kotter’s 8-Step Model.

Organizational Change Management

Organizational change management involves adjustments at the entity level. It requires a strategic roadmap that outlines the steps necessary to implement change. The change manager, or the organizational change specialist, is pivotal in coordinating efforts across different departments and ensuring smooth transitions. Effective communication is vital in this process, ensuring all team members understand the reasons for the change, its benefits, and the plan’s details.

Individual Change Management

Individual change management focuses on the personnel within the organization. It recognizes that successful change depends on each employee understanding, accepting, and adapting to the change. The Prosci ADKAR Model, which we will discuss later, is a popular framework for understanding and managing personal change. The change facilitator is crucial in supporting and encouraging staff during this process.

Enterprise Change Management

Enterprise change management is a top-down approach that embeds organizational change management practices and competencies. It involves creating a culture where change is expected, embraced, and implemented effectively. This approach requires the backing of the C-suite and the active involvement of all stakeholders, including employees, management, and key contributors.

Prosci ADKAR Model

The Prosci ADKAR Model is a goal-oriented approach to managing personal change. It stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. The model provides a framework for understanding how change occurs at an individual level and how to support employees through the process. It emphasizes the importance of communication, training, and support in facilitating successful change.

Kotter’s 8-Step Model

Developed by Harvard Business School professor John Kotter, the 8-Step Model is a comprehensive strategy for implementing successful change at an organizational level. The steps include creating a sense of urgency, forming a powerful coalition, creating a vision for change, communicating the vision, removing obstacles, creating short-term wins, building on the change, and anchoring the changes in corporate culture.


  1. Organizational Change Management Example: Microsoft’s Shift to Cloud Computing When Satya Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft in 2014, he spearheaded a significant organizational change by shifting the company’s focus from software products to cloud computing services. This required a strategic roadmap and effective communication to ensure all departments understood the new direction. The transition, managed by change specialists, was successful, with Microsoft Azure now being a major player in the cloud services market.
  2. Individual Change Management Example: Implementing Remote Work Policies during COVID-19 The COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to implement remote work policies quickly. This required individual change management employees had to adjust to working from home. Companies provided support and resources to help employees set up home offices, manage their time, and maintain productivity. The change facilitators were crucial in providing support and encouragement during this transition.
  3. Enterprise Change Management Example: Digital Transformation at General Electric (GE) GE initiated a massive enterprise change management process to become a leading digital industrial company. This involved embedding change management practices across the organization and creating a culture that embraced change. The initiative, backed by the C-suite, involved all stakeholders, including employees, management, and key contributors.
  4. Prosci ADKAR Model Example: Adoption of New Software in a Company When a company decides to implement new software, it can use the Prosci ADKAR Model to facilitate the change at an individual level. The process starts with creating awareness about the need for the new software, generating Desire among employees to support and participate in the change, providing Knowledge about how to use the software, developing their Ability to use the software, and finally, Reinforcing the use of the software through support and recognition.
  5. Kotter’s 8-Step Model Example: Merger of Two Companies When two companies merge, Kotter’s 8-Step Model can be used to manage the change. The process begins with creating a sense of urgency about the need for the merger. A coalition of leaders from both companies is formed to guide the process. A vision for the merged entity is created and communicated to all employees. Obstacles to the merger are identified and removed, and short-term wins are celebrated. The changes are built upon until the merger is complete, and the new corporate culture is anchored.

These examples illustrate how different types of change management can be applied in real-world situations to facilitate successful change.


Change management is a complex process that requires careful planning, clear communication, and ongoing support. Whether the change is at an individual, organizational, or enterprise level, the ultimate goal is to implement change in a way that leads to successful outcomes and sustainable growth. Organizations can better navigate the ever-changing business landscape by understanding and applying these types of change management.

1. Organizational Change Management

   – Burnes, B. (2004). Kurt Lewin and the Planned Approach to Change: A Re-appraisal. Journal of Management Studies, 41: 977-1002. [DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2004.00463.x](https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2004.00463.x)

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