Understanding the Basics of Change Management Best Practices – All You Need to Know

When discussing change management process steps and different types of change management, there is a certain framework that helps guide change projects.

This framework helps break down the concept of transformation and organizational change management strategies into various areas that include:

  • Types of organizational change
  • Roles in organizational change
  • Change management process steps
  • Types of approaches to change resistance
  • Types of change management methodologies

Each of these areas involved in change management best practices help organizations understand the different facets of change, how to mitigate resistance, and the change methodology options they have for guiding a successful change project.

types of organizational change

Change Management Process Steps

In this AGS insight article, we’ll give you an overview of the five most popular organizational change management strategies used to guide change projects. We’ll also go through the types of change, roles, process steps, and approaches to managing resistance involved in the world of change management.

Once you read this guide to change management best practices and frameworks, you should have a good idea of what types of processes and approaches that go into organizational change and change management.

See Also: The Best Practices for Changing Organizational Culture in Healthcare


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What Are the Three Types of Organizational Change?

Organizations go through change for a number of reasons. Some of it is planned and designed to improve processes or workflows. Other change may be out of necessity to adjust to outside circumstances, like a change in consumer behavior.

We’ll start our description of change management best practices by first looking at the three types of organizational change. Dr. Linda Ackerman Anderson defined these in the publication, Development, transition or transformation: the question of change in organizations.

When working on a change management project, it’s helpful to know the standard types of organizational change, and which one applies to a specific project, so you can better approach the change project planning.

3 Types of Organizational Change

  • Developmental Change: This type of organizational change improves upon something that is already being done, rather than creating something new. It can involve improving office communications or changes to improve sales and lead generation.
  • Transitional Change: This is a change that is replacing the “old way” something is done with a completely “new way” of doing things. It involves already knowing the desired future state and the need to change people and culture to adopt the new processes/procedures.
  • Transformational Change: This type of organizational change differs from transitional in that it’s much more challenging because the future state is unknown when the change project is begun. An example of this type of a more radical change would be to adjust to a global pandemic or large economic downturn.


What Are the Four Roles in Organizational Change?

Organizational change management strategies revolve around four key roles in organizational change. Each role plays an important part in change projects, and each can either hinder or help a change project.

All types of organizational change and all types of change management models recognize these four key roles that play a part in the change process.

  • Change Management Team: The change management team is made up of the change manager and others, such as the change project manager. This is the team that lays out the organizational change management strategies and implements the change game plan.
  • Organizational Leaders: Executives, managers, supervisors and other leaders play an important part in the change management process. They receive leadership coaching from the change team that guides them in coaching the employees they lead through the change. Employees often respond best when mentored through a change by their direct supervisor.
  • Change Champions Network: One part of the change management process steps is to set up a Change Champions Network. These are employees that support the change and are well respected by their colleagues and can help drive the change within their individual departments.
  • Employees/Participants: For an organization to change, the employees and other participants in the change process must change. The main tactics summed up in the different types of change management models are all about getting the employees in an organization past any resistance and supporting the change project.

Don’t Miss: Kurt Lewin Change Model | Pros & Cons 


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What Are the 3 Major Change Process Phases in an Organization?

All types of organizational change will go through three process phases designed to guide the project and give it a framework.

The many activities that the change management team does (impact assessment, training plan, resistance management, etc.) will fall into one of these process phases.

You’ll find these process phases called by slightly different names, depending upon the change resource you’re using and whether you’re searching on the UK search term for 3 major change processes in an organisation or the US search term for the change management process steps in a company.

Typical UK Search Term: What Are the 3 Major Change Process in Organisation?

Typical US Search Term: What Are the 3 Major Change Processes in Organizations?

The three main change management process steps are as follows.

  • Preparing for Change: This involves planning the change project, assessing the stakeholders impacted by the change and level of impact, and identifying organizational leadership and change champions.
  • Implementing the Change: This is the “doing” part of the change management project where you’re communicating with all involved, going through the organizational change management strategies you’ve laid out, and problem-solving along the way.
  • Reinforcing the Change: It’s important to continue change management support past the go-live date for your organizational change. This ensures that employee behaviors won’t go back to old methods and that the change has been fully integrated into the corporate culture.


What Are the Six Types of Change? | Resistance Approaches

All types of organizational change – developmental, transitional, and transformational – will encounter resistance. Resistance is a natural reaction when people are being asked to change habits and behaviors that they’ve become accustomed to.

When you’re reviewing the different types of change management, you’ll find that they all mention the need to manage resistance to change, so a project doesn’t fail to achieve the desired results.

These six types of change resistance management were developed in 1979 by John Kotter and Leonard Schlesinger, two leaders in change management, as a way to help change managers and leadership resolve resistance to change.

1. Educational and Communication

Sometimes employees resist change because they don’t understand the “why” of the change or how it will benefit them. Providing education and continuous communications about a change are change management best practices for mitigating resistance proactively and reactively.

2. Participation and Involvement

When employees are invited to participate in change exercises, as change champions, and in group meetings, they’re less likely to be resistant and more likely to support a change.

3. Facilitation and Support

Managers and supervisors facilitating the change process with their direct reports can often provide the type of support employees need to move past resistance and into a desire to change state.

4. Negotiation

Certain stakeholders have more capability than others to derail a change project. In this case, managers may wish to negotiate and offer an incentive for a stakeholder to support the change and get on board with the project.

5. Co-Optation and Manipulation

When other methods fail to resolve a stakeholder’s resistance, the person can be invited to join a decision-making team related to the change in a symbolic way to help them feel as if they have more power when it comes to the change. But this method can easily backfire if the person feels manipulated and patronized.

6. Explicit and Implicit Coercion

This method is one of last resort and not ideal. When someone is holding up a change project that needs to happen, an executive may force an employee to comply by threatening to fire or holding up future promotions.

Related: Best Ways for Leading a Team Through Change in the Workplace


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What Are the 5 Most Popular Types of Change Management?

Change management best practices include studying different change models and either choosing one upon which to base your change plan or using elements from several to inform organizational change management strategies.

As you review each of these five types of organizational change management, you’ll find commonalities and also differences. Some focus more on the process people have to be guided through during a change project, while others focus on keeping the enthusiasm for the project going.

1. The Prosci ADKAR® Model

ADKAR is an acronym that describes five stages an employee has to go through for a successful change project implementation. These include awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement.

The ADKAR model by Prosci is focused on driving change from the bottom up and includes multiple tactics for managing resistance and creating a detailed change management plan.

2. Kurt Lewin Change Model

The Lewin Model for change management is also focused on those who are being impacted by the change. It uses what’s called the Lewin Force Field Analysis, which describes the driving forces and restraining forces for change.

Lewin’s model describes the three change management process steps as: Unfreeze, Change, Freeze.

3. McKinsey 7-S Model

The McKinsey 7-S Model for organizational change is more of a way to understand all the important parts of an organization and how they connect so you can keep each of them in balance with each other.

mckinsey 7s framework

This model can be used anytime to ensure an organization is healthy, and all parts (staff, skills, systems, shared values, etc.) are aligned with each other.

4. William Bridges’ Transition Model

This is one of the models that is most in tune with the emotions of the employees, and other stakeholders feel during a change project.

The Bridges’ Transition model describes the types of change management process phases as: Endings, Neutral Zone, New Beginnings. It describes the types of feelings employees may feel during each of those phases, and what needs to be addressed to remove resistance and provide needed support.

5. John Kotter 8-Step Change Model

The Kotter 8-Step Model is one that’s focused more on process than the emotions that stakeholders go through during change. It lays out an eight-step process that is focused on building a coalition to help drive the change.

Two key components of this model are creating a sense of urgency within an organization about a change and maintaining momentum and acceleration during the change project.

Popular Article: Best Employee Training Tools


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Conclusion: Types of Organizational Change & Change Management

While there are several types of change management models to choose from, most will have similar best practices and focus on the same core elements of change. These include understanding the types of resistance that can come up during a change and creating a coalition of leaders and change agents to help address and move past it.

From the types of organizational change that companies can go through to the change management process steps that create a framework for a change management plan, each of these areas helps to inform an organization how to transition through a change successfully.

It’s important to understand each of these areas of change management best practices. They’ll help a change manager be fully prepared to identify the type of change in an organization, the key roles involved, the process steps to take, types of resistance approaches to use, and types of change management methodologies that can help.

The ultimate goal of using all of this knowledge is to learn how to address the different types of organizational change successfully with a well planned and implemented change strategy.


Authors: Ogbe Airiodion (Senior Change Management Lead) and Francesca Crolley (AGS Cloud Content Producer)
Content on Airiodion Global Services (AGS)'s Airiodion.com website is copyrighted. Questions? Contact Airiodion Global Services (AGS) .

FREE Change Management Templates (Excel, PDF, PPT)

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Free Change Management Plan and Template - Airiodion Global Services (AGS)-min

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FREE Change Management Templates (Excel, PDF, PPT)

Get Free Templates Today

Free Change Management Plan and Template - Airiodion Global Services (AGS)-min

Get Your Free Change Management Templates Today


►► FREE Change Mgt Strategy Playbook and Toolkit ◄◄


►► Change Impacts Assessment Toolkit ◄◄


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