An Analysis and Evaluation of Critical Success Factors of selected Change Management Models for the holistic Implementation of Transformation Projects

Based on Empirical Data and Case Studies of international Corporations

Master's Thesis, 2017

83 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents



1.1 Background
1.2 Objective, Goal and Limitation
1.3 Methodology

2.1 Terminology
2.1.1 Definition of the Term 'Change Management’
2.1.2 Definition of the Term 'Change Project’
2.2 Triggers of Change
2.3 A universal Process of Change / Kurt Lewin's Three Phase Model
2.3.1 The Three Phases / Unfreezing, Moving, Refreezing
2.3.2 Critical Remarks on Lewin's Work
2.4 Resistance to Change
2.4.1 Characteristics and Indications of Resistance
2.4.2 The Causes of Resistance / Why People resist Change
2.4.3 The Emotional Stages of Change / The Coping Cycle

3.1 utility Analysis / Theoretical Overview
3.2 Critical Remarks
3.3 The Evaluation of Decision Criteria
3.3.1 The Assessment of Critical Success Factors of Change Management based on Case Studies and Empirical Data Case study I / IBM Case study II / Commerzbank Empirical Data I / Capgemini Empirical Data II / IBM Global Business Service Empirical Data III / Key Findings of other Empirical Researches
3.3.2 Final Formulation of Scoring Criteria / Critical Success Factors


5.1 Description of Change Management Models
5.1.1 Kotter's Eight Steps of Change
5.1.2 AD KAR ľ.
5.1.3 FIBRS Seven Steps to Change
5.2 Analysis and Evaluation of Change Management Models
5.2.1 Assessment of Kotter's Eight step of Change
5.2.2 Assessment of ADKAR
5.2.3 Assessment of FIBR's Seven Steps to Change
5.2.4 Comparison of the Models




List of Abbreviations

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List of Figures

Figure 1 : Analyzed Case Studies

Figure 2: Analyzed Empirical Data

Figure 3: Differences between Organizational Development and Change Management

Figure 4: Three Phase Model of Change according to Kurt Lewin

Figure 5: Indications of Resistance

Figure 6: Change-Iceberg

Figure 7: Reasons & Determinants of Resistance to Change at the Individual Level

Figure 8: The Coping Cycle superimposed with Lewin's Three Phase Model

Figure 9: utility Analysis: Weighting Criteria based on a School Grad System

Figure 10: Rating Scale

Figure 11: Rating Scale Corridors and Description

Figure 12: Weighted utility Analysis - Result

Figure 13: Top-10 Critical Success Factors

Figure 14: Top-10 Critical Success Factors

Figure 15: Final Formulation of Scoring Criteria including Weight in Percent

Figure 16: Eight step Process of Creating Major Change

Figure 17: Key Elements of effective Communication

Figure 18: The ADKAR Model

Figure 19: HBR's Seven Steps to Change

Figure 20: utility Analysis - Result of KOTTER's Eight step Model

Figure 21 : utility Analysis - Result of ADKAR's Model of Change

Figure 22: utility Analysis - Result of HBR's Change Model

Figure 23: utility Analysis - Comparison of the selected Change Management Models

1. Introduction

With the purpose of gaining a unified understanding of the intention of this master thesis, the following sections provide not merely the background of the research topic, but also postulates the objective of the paper including the working hypothesis and an overview of the used methodology.

1.1 Background

“Speed of change is the driving force. Leading change competently is the only answer. ”[1]

In recent years, dealing with change and transformations has become a crucial task for managers and their organizations as companies executed comprehensive and deep reaching change projects. It is out of the question that companies simply have to change in order to be successful in the long term. As a result, working routines in today's organizations are subject to constant change and transformation arises in ever industry and branch, regardless of the size of the business and the number of employees.[2] Today, change management can be stated as an essential task for managers and leaders as organizations have to adapt to change constantly in order to keep operating profitably.[3]

With regards to BURNES[4], businesses do not only have to deal with transformations since recent decades, but at all times. However, the author agrees that aspects like speed, scope and impact are much greater and more powerful today than in previous times. Nevertheless, working organizations are referred to as never standing still, only the speed and deepness of change varies in each company.[5] [6] As a quintessence, “[...] change, paradoxically, has become an organizational norm and seems to take place in a significant increase in speed.[7]

Reasons why companies undertake such complex transformations are manifold and comprise different aspects like the reorganization of business divisions, mergers & acquisitions, cost reduction and the overall rehabilitation of companies.[8]

The specific competence and knowledge to manage and supervise change projects in an adequate and fruitful manner is a crucial factor of an organization to compete in an ever increasing competitive environment. Companies have to adapt to fast changing markets and customer requirements in a short period of time in order to secure their success in the long run. Therefore, change management is a fundamental aspect for every organization, as implementing and successfully managing change is strictly a matter of survival.[9]

Paradoxically, although the successful implementation and managing of change and transformation has become such an essential subject for organizations, it is often executed without the necessary diligence respectively carefulness and therefore, without success. Most of the researches investigating the topic of the success of change projects such as KOTTER[10], MCKINSEY[11] and KPMG[12] state that approximately only thirty percent of all transformation projects are carried out successfully. However, the researches do not attest a total failure for most of the change initiatives, but transformation projects often do not fulfill the set targets regarding scope, budget and timeframe. As a result, the executed change initiatives within organizations are often only partially successful.

Consequently, it is highly important for every change manager to be aware of the critical success factors (see chapter 3.3) of transformation projects and to have knowledge about the pros and cons of different change management methods in order to reduce the hindering forces within an organization and thus to be able to execute fruitful and long lasting change. Especially due to the fact that change is complex, multifaceted and human behavior cannot be predicted or foretold.

This master thesis deals with the analysis of different change management methods and therefore, with the critical success factors of change. Furthermore, a scoring framework for the actual evaluation of those methods will be developed in this paper based on criteria that are derived from the analysis of case studies and empirical data in order to get a reviewed overview of the specific advantages and disadvantages of different change management approaches. The objective, goal and working hypothesis will be further described in the following.

1.2 Objective, Goal and Limitation

As already mentioned, the thesis is about analyzing various popular change management methods in order to be aware of their specific suitability of implementing change. In addition, a utility analysis/scoring model will be developed to be able to evaluate and review the different change management procedures. The weighted criteria for the scoring model will be worked up based on case examples and empirical data in order to provide an evaluation on a qualified basis.

In this context, this master thesis will examine the following working hypothesis:

The selected change management methods focus on homogeneous critical success factors and therefore, are equally well suited for the successful implementation of holistic change initiatives.

In order to prove the above formulated hypothesis to be correct or false, a framework to score the different change management methods has to be developed. The basis for this task will be a utility analysis respectively scoring model, which will be provided with seven critical success factors as weighted scoring criteria that are worked-up based on the assessment of case studies and empirical data.

The objective of this master thesis is as follows:

The objective of this paper is to analyze and evaluate selected change management models regarding their strengths and weaknesses in terms of a holistic implementation of transformation projects and further, to compare them with each other based on a weighted utility analysis respectively scoring model. The scoring criteria for the utility analysis will be referring to critical success factors of change management, which are based on the assessment of case studies and empirical data. The result will provide an evaluation on a qualified basis and will prove the hypothesis to be correct or false.

In order to be able to focus on the hypothesis and the aforesaid aspects, there will be an evaluation of three change management methods. Although, there are dozens of well-illustrated and documented methods available within this research area, the focus will be set on the most common and popular change management models. Also with respect to the scope of the paper the number of case examples for the development of the scoring criteria will be limited to two well documented studies. Furthermore, the outcome of the case studies used for the development of the scoring criteria will further, be promoted by the results of a restricted number of empirical studies and surveys in order to meet the desired aspects and scope of this master thesis.

1.3 Methodology

The paper is separated into seven central sections. The first chapter deals with the initial introduction, which includes the background of the topic and a derivation of the objective of the master thesis. In chapter two a theoretical overview on change management is provided in order to understand not only the terminology but also to further distinct the scope of change management from organizational development. In addition, the triggers of change and the reasons for resistance will be examined. This includes the outlining of a universal process of transformation, which was originally postulated by LEWIN for a better understanding of change and its diverse phases.

In chapter three the development of a utility analysis for the later assessment of the selected change management models will be conducted. Further, this comprises a theoretical overview in order to understand the objectives and limitations of this specific scoring model. The obligatory scoring criteria for the utility analysis will be derived through the assessment of case studies and empirical data in order to provide a profound basis for the forthcoming review of the change management methods.

A short interim summary will be presented in chapter four in order to conclude the so far evaluated findings.

The so derived methodology of chapter three will be applied in chapter five. First, the selected change management models will be described in order to develop an understanding for each individual method and their differences. Second, the utility analysis with its derived scoring criteria will be applied for the actual evaluation of the three change management procedures. This further comprises a direct comparison of all three methods for an increased clarity.

Chapter six briefly outlines overall critical remarks that has to be noted when examining the topic of change management.

Finally, in chapter seven all arguments will be summarized in the conclusion of this paper.

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Figure 1: Analyzed Case Studies Source: Own Illustration

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Figure 2: Analyzed Empirical Data Source: Own Illustration

2. Change Management / Theoretical Overview

Before analyzing the research questions and developing the weighted utility analysis the following chapters provide a theoretical overview on change management including the definition of the term, triggers of change, resistance to change and the prime model of transformation postulated by KURT LEWIN.

2.1 Terminology

2.1.1 Definition of the Term ‘Change Management’

In order to develop a joint understanding of the expression ‘change management’, the following chapter provides various approaches to the definition of change management. A common and joint definition of the term is not existent as the topic is rather complex without any clear borderlines. Change management has originally developed from the area of organizational development. The fundamentals of organizational development have been preserved in change management, but with regards to DOPPLER/LAUTERBURG[13] there are also strict differences as seen in the figure below.

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Figure 3: Differences between Organizational Development and Change Management Source: Own Illustration based on Doppler, K. / Lauterburg, c. (2014): p. 93f.

In a survey to change management conducted by the consulting agency Capgemini in 2010, the question was asked how change management could be characterized as simple as possible. The following response alternatives were named most frequently. First, sending clear, credible messages and promoting open communication with 58%. Second, making change efforts understandable and tangible with 42%. Third, empowering the people who are involved broadly with 35%.[14] Although this result rather represents a practical approach, the focus on change management clearly is on the integration and empowerment of effected employees and further on a well elaborated communication approach. This result corresponds to the findings of DOPPLER/LAUTERBURG[15], KOTTER[16] and other change management authors, who also highlight the crucial role of communication within organizations, which is even more pronounced in the context of change initiatives.

As change management is not merely about communication, a broader definition is as follows: “Change Management is the process of ensuring that an organization is ready for change and taking actions to ensure that change is accepted and implemented smoothly.”[17] As a quintessence, it comprises the overall planning, implementation and controlling of all measures to set-up the employees and managers for organizational change in a best possible way.[18]

In this context, the aim of change management is transforming an organization from a present state to a desired future state. It incorporates all measures, actions and tasks in an organization that are required to initiate and execute broad, cross­functional and deep-reaching change within the framework of strategies, structures, processes as well as social and behavioral patterns. As a result, change management is rather not about developing very detailed blueprints of target situations, but the foremost objective of change management is thus, to increase the overall readiness for transformation among employees and stakeholders and to develop embellished visions and therefore, to design the journey and pathway of transformation.[19]

Based on the characteristics formulated above, the following working definition of ‘change management’ can be postulated for this master thesis:

Change management is the holistic approach to successfully initiate, implement, control and communicate sustainable change and further, to continuously improve the overall willingness and readiness to change within companies and their organizations and comprises all actions and measures that are required to transform an organization from status-quo to a desired future state.

2.1.2 Definition of the Term ‘Change Project’

A change initiative respectively a change project can be described as a change management intention with predefined objectives and restricted resources regarding budget, time and working capacity. In addition, the implementation of change management initiatives differs from the daily working routines like the execution of other working projects too. Moreover, the nature of standard projects as well as change projects can be labelled as unique. Hence, every project and therefore, also change projects are described by having a specific point of start and thus, a defined point of end. The general goal of such change projects is the holistic and sustainable adaption of the status-quo structure and framework to the desired future state of an organization.[20]

Due to this specific criteria, change projects are a special type within the context of projects, as they usually do not have a direct impact on the value of a company, but instead the organization itself shall be converted from the actual state to a future target state.[21]

Furthermore, another unique characteristic of change projects is the overall close linkage and correlation to human resources. The critical qualification and training of involved managers and empowered employees in order to successfully implement fruitful change initiatives experience an ever increasing attention.[22]

Based on the criteria formulated beforehand, the following working definition of ‘change project’ can be proposed:

Change projects are highly complex and multifaceted and therefore, represent an exceptional category of projects that focus on the holistic adjustment of the state of an organization and lay the particular emphasis on the overall acceptance of the concerned employees and further, on the training of all those involved with respect to limited time, budget and capacity resources.

2.2 Triggers of Change

Although change can provide huge beneficial factors if implemented properly, the execution of such complex transformation projects also bears potential risks, like e.g. fear and uncertainty. In order to understand, why organizations undertake such risky initiatives nonetheless, it is necessary to be aware of the triggers of change. The triggers of change can be differentiated between external factors and internal factors. External indicates that the reasons for the organization to change and adapt are based on changes in the external environmental framework of the company.[23] With regards to FAHEY/RANDALL there is a distinction between six external company environments:[24]

1. The social environment: This includes hard measurable factors and criteria such as socio-demographics, but in addition, also qualitative data on lifestyles and social values.

2. The macroeconomic environment: This comprises overall economic conditions that affect all companies. Cyclical trends and changes in the economic structure are included here.

3. The political environment: overall political conditions, political stability, changes in law principles and change of political power shape the content in this category.

4. The technological environment: The direction and speed of technological progress are relevant information within this segment. Therefore, basic science as well as applied research are of interest.

5. The ecological environment: The change of the climate, the flora and fauna, the occurrence and exhaustion of natural resources are important aspects within this sector.

6. The institutional environment: This includes both the physical infrastructure (traffic, logistics, telecommunication, electricity) as well as the so-called intellectual infrastructure (schools, universities, research facilities).[25]

Internal factors are typically manifestations of the beforehand described external drivers, e.g. when external based customer preferences are changing, the internal trigger would be to make corresponding adjustments regarding products or services. Another illustration would be the reorganization of functions at the business front (e.g. marketing) in order to work accordingly with functions at the business rear (e.g. production) with the objective to work more efficient towards customer preferences.[26]

A survey initiated by KPMG in 2009 stated that change projects are mostly triggered due to internal reorganization of business processes and structures with a quota of 53%. Bigger transactions like mergers & acquisitions are mentioned with 12%, followed by implementations of new management tools with 9% and starting projects in order to reduce the overall company expenses with 8%.[27] The latest change management survey executed from CAPGEMINI in 2015 postulates a quite similar picture. Again, reorganization and restructuring are the most frequent answers regarding change occasion with 35%. Furthermore, overall company growth initiatives are mentioned second most with 16%.[28] Interestingly, this answer possibility was not mentioned or even included in the survey done by KPMG, although this case seems to be very common for initiating change projects.

As a quintessence, as companies can be considered as open systems and the dynamic of such environmental factors are ever increasing, organizations are merely forced to react to those change drivers.[29] Changes within these categories might consequently trigger employees into thinking that change can be an appropriate answer to the new challenges. To further foster the positive effects of ‘turbulence’ generated by the factors above, an organization should perform proactively with the implementation of corresponding change initiatives.[30] In order to provide a synopsis of a generic transformation procedure, a universal change process will be described in the following.

2.3 A universal Process of Change / Kurt Lewin's Three Phase Model

There are manifold models, which are describing transformation as a process by dividing and splitting it into different phases. LEWIN[31] formulated the first and probably the most well-known approach by stating three distinctive change steps during a transformation. The model for planned change is divided into the phases unfreezing, moving and refreezing. Moreover, LEWIN postulated two major forces that face each other within such a process: Forces that hinder and restrain change impulses and forces that drive and further promote change activities. For executing fruitful change initiatives, a company has to balance the two forces in the long- term.[32]

Other authors and their approaches to guide change projects are usually oriented towards the base theory postulated by LEWIN. Although, other models may comprise more steps they are built upon the prime model of LEWIN. Thus, NADLER/TUSHMAN/O’REILLY equally identified three phases within a transformation project.[33] The popular work of KOTTER contains eight steps of change, but nonetheless, it is correspondingly based on the three phases mentioned above.[34] The five phase model of KRUGER is founded on the evaluation of KOTTER's reasoning and therefore, also based on the three step theory.[35]

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Figure 4: Three Phase Model of Change according to Kurt Lewin Source׳ Lewin, K. (1947): p. 5ff. / re-cited in Fritzenschaft, T. (2011): p. 26.

As a result, the three phases of transformation postulated by LEWIN can be understood as a generic and universal process of change and will be explained in the following. The model is not designed to provide clear actions and measures, but its description rather helps to understand the elemental procedure during a change activity.

2.3.1 The Three Phases / Unfreezing, Moving, Refreezing

During the first phase, which is called unfreezing, an overall awareness for the need of transformation is strongly triggered and the forces that promote and drive change activities have to be dominant in order to destabilize the equilibrium of the two powers (see figure 2). Creating an overall ambience of readiness for change within the entire organization is crucial. Furthermore, old patterns of behavior have to be questioned and all previous working habits have to be reconsidered. Forces that promote change should be further fostered early in order to be prepared for the next phase of moving.[36] BURNES argues that psychological safety is a critical issue at that point in LEWIN's theory. “[...] those concerned have to feel safe from loss and humiliation before they can accept the new information and reject old behaviors.’’[37]

The center-point of the change process is the second stage called moving phase. This is the phase where the actual transformation from the old status to the future state of an organization is fostered. This means, that the intended change activities are actually spread out with several selected levers throughout the organization. New working manners and type of behaviors are arising and established. This often goes along with a corresponding loss of performance as new systems, tools and processes have to be internalized and adopted before the working routine can be executed with the same efficiency as before.[38] If not recognized, the change hindering forces can rise and “[...] change could be short-lived."[39]

The third and final step is named refreezing phase and is entirely aiming at anchoring the achieved outcomes to a degree that a new equilibrium is created and new processes and systems are perceived as common and trusted. As a result, commitment to the transformation is achieved among affected employees and new working habits are institutionalized. This also helps preventing a consciously or unconsciously reversion to the previous status-quo.[40] “Refreezing seeks to stabilize the group at a new quasi-stationary equilibrium in order to ensure that the new behaviors are relatively safe from regression.”[41] The refreezing phase represents the last step for executing planned change.

2.3.2 Critical Remarks on Lewin's Work

LEWIN'S approach is not designed to provide clear actions and measures for successfully handling change projects, but rather to understand the overall mechanism of transformations. Nonetheless, many authors raise points of criticism on the three step theory. The model of change is a strictly linear model and as every linear model it faces the problem of simplifying a rather complex reality. “[...] this quaintly linear and static conception.. .is so wildly inappropriate that it is difficult to see why it has not only survived but prospered [.. .ƒ’.[42]

Many argue that the approach of three steps that are merely self-contained and closed in itself is unsuitable and outdated. Organizational change is a continuous process that does not end with a final refreezing phase. With regards to KRUGER, change cannot be understood as a finalized process, but is formed by constant and steady developments. Change should be an everlasting issue in order to prevent the backsliding into old patterns.[43]

LEWIN is further accused to ignore the influence of politics and power within organizations. As a quintessence, he described organizations as a closed system without influencing forces. This rather cannot be pictured for modern and living organizations inside dynamic businesses.[44] Furthermore, the theory of LEWIN is seen as “[...] advocating a top-down, management-driven approach to change and ignoring situation requiring bottom-up change."[45] This argument is also provided by KANTER et al.[46] Regarding the fact that many modern approaches to change rather recommend a bottom-up initiative in order empower the involved and effected employees in a best possible way, the theory of LEWIN seems to be outmoded at first sight.[47]

However, BURNES overruled some of the major points of criticism in his evaluation of LEWIN'S field theory in 2004. He stated that change and constancy are relative concepts and that there is an idea of ongoing change in LEWIN's model. He further understood the importance to involve all people that are influenced. These arguments and the still modern approach of splitting change into rather simplified phases show the ongoing relevance of LEWIN's work. His “[...] approach is clearly still valuable and influential in these areas."[48]

2.4 Resistance to Change

First, it is necessary to reflect the occurrence of resistance within change processes, its characteristics and reasons in order to later analyze the critical success factors of change management. The fear of the unknown, uncertainty and overall disagreement regarding the future state are experienced within the organizational framework. As a result, initiating and managing change always involves dealing with resistance.[49] Change managers should take the habits of affected employees seriously at all times. If resistance is not recognized early and handled appropriately, the rate for failure will be high and change initiatives are destined to be a miscarriage.[50] However, it is of high importance to see resistance to change from the perspective of those actually affected. “Resistance is viewed generally from the perspective of those promoting change and there is need to understand resistance from the defenders’ position.”[51] The later defined critical success factors of change management aim at reducing the resistance to transformation and further help to promote the change driving forces.

2.4.1 Characteristics and Indications of Resistance

First, it is important to define the term before the characteristics and reasons of resistance can be analyzed. With regards to HARINGTON/VOEHL resistance to change is “any thought of action directed against a change and should be expected in any major change process."[52] According to MABIN et al. who postulated a broader approach, “resistance to change is acknowledged as being a fundamental block to change, and a prime reason why change does not succeed or get implemented. Resistance to change is ubiquitous in nature and can be defines as an expression of reservation which normally arises as a response or reaction to change."[53] As a result, resistance to change that originated from the company environment is a manifestation of unwillingness to adapt, which developed based on a reaction to the implementation of change initiatives and aims at maintaining the current status-quo. According to DOPPLER/LAUTERBERG resistance can have the following indications:[54]

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Figure 5: Indications of Resistance

Source: Own Illustration based on Doppler, K. / Lauterburg, c. (2008): p. 339.

Every transformation project faces the hindering and restraining forces within change initiatives that foster resistance. That is why the preparations for change have to be executed in a manner that those forces are minimized and thus, the organization is ready for change.[55]

Before the critical success factors for the fruitful implementation of change can be analyzed, it is of crucial importance to analyze the reasons for the occurrence of resistance.

2.4.2 The Causes of Resistance / Why People resist Change

In order to holistically analyze the reasons for resistance to change, both hard as well as soft factors within an organization have to be reflected. As resistance to change is unavoidable, it is fundamental to understand the reasons for occurrence and how to minimize its influence on change and further, to consider the soft factors as such are often not appropriately recognized. A common approach to outline the hard (formal) and soft (informal) factors of an organization is the so- called ‘iceberg-model’ (see figure 6), which was originally postulated by

FRENCH/BELL[56] and is further developed till today. Formal aspects are on the top and therefore, easy to recognize and identify such as, e.g. structures, tasks and objectives. However, soft or correspondingly informal aspects are below the obvious surface at the bottom of the model. This pictures the fact that in contrast to the hard factors, informal parts are not as easy to identify and thus, often are not reflected.[57] The focus in this chapter is on the informal aspects, as the hard factors are mostly considered sufficiently. As a quintessence, three diverse levels of soft factors influencing the reasons for resistance to transformation can be differentiated.

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Figure 6: Change-Iceberg

Source: Own Illustration based on Kaune, A. (2010): p. 31.

First, organizational factors that promote and facilitate resistance are based on laziness respectively inertia within business structures, routines and processes under the flag of a high degree of bureaucracy. Further, relationships and strict allocations regarding resources provide a framework within an atmosphere of change cannot flourish and thus, successfully blocks the change promoting forces. Furthermore, management as well as corporate culture affect the initiated change project. Overall taboos and other issues regarding culture, which cannot be discussed are strongly not supportive. As a result, culture is a critical headline regarding change management, as it enables an aura in which change promoting forces can develop and cannot be overlooked.[58] The second level of soft factors influencing change is the group level. Aspects like the group dynamic, group cohesion and other social norms have a direct influence of the result of the transformation initiative. In an atmosphere of a mutual destructive stimulus and overall harmful encouragement, even employees who have advocated change in the beginning will be negatively infected later. As a result, change promoting forces cannot grow and resistance will rise.[59]

Finally, the third and most influencing factor is the individual level. Due to the significance of these determinants, six reasons that apply a critical influence on the individual behavior will be examined in the following.[60]

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Figure 7: Reasons & Determinants of Resistance to Change at the Individual Level Source: Own Illustration based on Bradutanu, D~(2015): p. 22.

If an employee predicts individual harm as an outcome of implementing change, a broad disagreement will be the result. The affected person will decide not to cooperate as he foresees personal losses. As a result, the fear of individual loss is one of the major barriers within organizational change processes. Employees prefer an aura of stability ensured by employment security. Endangering such loss as a result of implementing change, will lead to change rejection and denial.

Second, the misunderstanding of the change objective mainly arises as affected employees are not capable of evaluating the impact of the transformation initiative. Especially, a lack of clear and distinctive information about change and its purpose will lead to resistance. Affected people must be involved and empowered very early in order to promote employees’ support.[61]

Third, the fear of loss of control is omnipresent especially among affected managers. They are afraid that with the implementations of change and thus, the rise of new structures and processes, old working routines and other work characteristics will be different and that they will not be able to cope with that due to a lack of knowledge. As a result, they fear to become obsolete or at least losing influence. In order to overrule such fears among affected employees, the implementation of as many trainings as possible is of very high importance. Fourth, employees and change managers can perceive the value of transformation in a different way. In order to balance this issue, it is advisable to empower change agents from within the organization who are trusted the most and further to promote effective communication throughout all channels.[62]

Fifth, an overall low tolerance for change due to a low self-esteem triggered by negative experiences in the past is a factor that increase change resistance. Finally, regularly employees are not properly prepared and/or informed about planned change initiatives and therefore, are taken by surprise. This comprises both the unplanned chance to work up on additional activities due to a colleague’s dismissal and any disparity between the planned future state and the status-quo culture.[63]

Remarkably, according to KEGAN/LAHEY there is a phenomenon identified as ‘competing commitment’, which causes resistance although the affected employees are not against the planned change effort. They called this effect “[...] personal immunity to change”[64] as they strictly do not adapt even if they do not bear any negative attitudes towards change at all.[65]

As a result, although the employees’ emotions are one of the most serious aspects regarding the success of change projects, they are often disregarded. Emotions have to be taken very seriously and handled at an early stage by managers and leaders within change initiatives. This is correspondingly one of the key-findings of authors such as KRÜGER[66] and KOTTE R/со HEN.[67]

2.4.3 The Emotional Stages of Change / The Coping Cycle

As already mentioned, resistance to change appears in every transformation project and effected employees have to go through various phases of transition. According to CARNALL who developed the ‘coping cycle’, resistance to change can be divided into five phases of emotional response.[68] The model postulated by CARNALL is similar to other approaches of differentiating resistance to change by splitting it into several phases established by authors such as HAYES.[69]

Moreover, the three phase model of LEWIN (chapter 2.3) can be placed and superposed onto the coping cycle and further proves the overall applicability and modernness of LEWIN's model besides the favorable arguments of KANTER et al. and BURNES (see chapter 2.3.1 and 2.3.2). This supports the fact that LEWIN's approach to change truthfully describes a universally valid process of changing the behavior towards transformation.[70]

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Figure 8: The Coping Cycle superimposed with Lewin's Three Phase Model Source: Own Illustration based on Carnali, C2007) ׳): p. 240ff. and Burnes, B. (2004): p. 341.

The coping cycle contains five phases: The first phase is called denial phase and usually is the initial reaction of involved employees to an upcoming change initiative. As a result, when faced with the need to accept broad transformation, the first response by affected people is to deny the fact that there is an actual need for


[1] Kotter, J. P. (2012): p. ¡X.

[2] Cf. Robbins, H. / Finley, M. (1996): p. 1ff.

[3] Cf. McKinsey (2008): p. 1ff.

[4] Cf. Burnes, B. (2009): p. 5ff.

[5] Cf. Burnes, B. (2009): p. 5ff.

[6] Child, J. (2015): p. 277.

[7] Cf. Kotter, J. P. (2012): p. vii.

[8] Cf. KPMG (2009): p. 22.

[9] Cf. Fritzenschaft, T. (2013): p. 4.

[10] Cf. Kotter, J. p. (1995): p. Iff.

[11] Cf. McKinsey (2008): p. 3.

[12] Cf. KPMG (2009): p. 25.

[13] Cf. Doppler, K. / Lauterburg, c. (2014): p. 93.

[14] Cf. Capgemini (2010): p. 91.

[15] Cf. Doppler, K. / Lauterburg, c. (2014): p. 349ff.

[16] Cf. Kotter, J. p. (2012): p. 87ff.

[17] Armstrong, M. / Stephens, T. (2005), p. 119.

[18] Cf. Lauer, T. (2014), p. 3f.

[19] Cf. Gattermeyer, w. / Al-Ani, A. (2013): p. 13ff.

[20] Cf. Fritzenschaft, T. (2013): p. 22.

[21] Cf. Wolf, M. etai (1997): p. 5.

[22] Cf. Doppler, K. / Lauterburg, c. (2014): p. 84f.

[23] Cf. Jabri, M. (2012): p. 3ff.

[24] Cf. Fahey, L. / Randall, R. M. (2001): p. 193ff.

[25] Cf. Fahey, L. / Randall, R. M. (2001): p. 193ff.

[26] Cf. Jabri, M. (2012): p. 4.

[27] Cf. KPMG (2009): p. 22.

[28] Cf. Capgemini (2015): p. 12.

[29] Cf. Lauer, T. (2014), p. 19.

[30] Cf. Jabri, M. (2012): p. 4.

[31] Cf. Lewin, K. (1947): p. 5ff.

[32] Cf. Lauer, T. (2014), p. 65f.

[33] Cf. Nadler et al. (1989): p. 536ff.

[34] Cf. Kotter, J. P. (2012): p. 24.

[35] Cf. Krüger, w. / Bach, N. (2014): p. 39.

[36] 33 Cf. Fritzenschaft, T. (2013): p. 26f.

[37] Burnes, B. (2004): p. 985.

[38] Cf. Fritzenschaft, T. (2013): p. 28.

[39] Burnes, B. (2004): p. 986.

[40] Cf. Kaminski, J. (2011): n. p.

[41] Burnes, B. (2004): p. 986.

[42] Kanter et al. (1992): p. 10.

[43] Cf. Krüger, w. / Bach, N. (2014: p. 50.

[44] Cf. Burnes, B. (2004): p. 994.

[45] Burnes, B. (2004): p. 995.

[46] Kanter et al. (1992): p. 10ff.

[47] Cf. Kotter, J. P. (2012): p. 53ff.

[48] Burnes, B. (2004): p. 997.

[49] Cf. Lauer, T. (2014), p. 29ff.

[50] Cf. Cacad, A. (2006): p. 25ff.

[51] Coghlan, D. (1993): p. 11.

[52] Harington, J. / Voehl, F. (2016): p. 281.

[53] Mabin, V. J. / Forgeson, s. / Green, L. (2001): p. 169f.

[54] Cf. Doppler, K. / Lauterburg, c. (2008): p. 339.

[55] Cf. Mabin, V. J. / Forgeson, s. / Green, L. (2001): p. 170.

[56] Cf. French, w. L. / Bell, c. (1978): p. 16f.

[57] Cf. Kaune, A. (2010): p. 29ff.

[58] Cf. Carnali, c. A. (2007): p. 120.

[59] Cf. Carnali, c. A. (2007): p. 120ff.

[60] Cf. Bradutanu, D. (2015): p. 22.

[61] Cf. Bradutanu, D. (2015): p. 23.

[62] Cf. Bradutanu, D. (2015): p. 24f.

[63] Cf. Bradutanu, D. (2015): p. 25.

[64] Kegan, R. / Lahey, L. (2011 ): p. 77.

[65] Cf. Kegan, R. / Lahey, L. (2011): p. 77ff.

[66] Cf. Krüger, w. / Bach, N. (2014: p. 35.

[67] Cf. Kotter, J. p. / Cohen, D. (2002): p. 8.

[68] Cf. Carnali, c. A. (2007): p. 240ff.

[69] Cf. Hays, J. (2002): p. 151f.

[70] Cf. Burnes, B. (2004): p. 341.

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An Analysis and Evaluation of Critical Success Factors of selected Change Management Models for the holistic Implementation of Transformation Projects
Based on Empirical Data and Case Studies of international Corporations
The FOM University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg
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Change Management, Critical Success factors, Kotter, ADKAR, MBA, Erfolgsfaktoren
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Roman Salzger (Author), 2017, An Analysis and Evaluation of Critical Success Factors of selected Change Management Models for the holistic Implementation of Transformation Projects, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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