Lewin’s Change Theory vs Kotter’s 8-Step Change Management Model with examples

Change is constant but tough. However, how do we manage or embrace the change? Because of technological advances, covid 19, globalization, changes are easy to feel and observe. In our everyday life, we will feel it. If you are a student then you have to attend online classes and take online exams. Work from home, online shopping, cyberbullying, online payment, and new normal are extremely normal these days.        


As a human being, you can fear change and it is normal. Generally, people fear uncertainty, unknown situations. Since we don’t like any disruption, we feel hesitation and confusion whenever we need to shift our flats, office, or jobs. we also need to adjust whenever we change our mobile phone or even windows.  At first, you have to recognise that change is the reality.


Any organization must deal with change regularly. Changes such as the acceptance of new business methods or the development of promising new technologies are instances of constant organizational changes. Those interested in organizational development (OD) know how difficult it may be to persuade people to adopt attractive new technologies or decision-making methods. Some models can assist in clarifying the steps that can be performed to reduce the job of change management. Lewin's 3-step model and Kotter's 8-step model, both of which will be detailed below, are two of the most popular. So what are the similarities and differences between Lewin’s Change Theory vs Kotter’s Change Management Model? 

“How does successful change happen?”

Lewin's Change Management Model

Lewin's model appears to be easy at first glance, as it just has three steps. These are referred to as 'unfreeze,' 'transition/ change,' and 'freeze.'

The first step is to try to reduce the pressures that keep the status quo in place and change the prevailing institutional mentality.

The equilibrium position, which naturally wishes to retain things as they are, is known as the status quo.


Unfreezing can be accomplished by increasing influences that push people's behaviour and attitudes away from the status quo. This can be accomplished by convincing people of the necessity for change and establishing confidence.


The second step entails the formation of new habits, values, and attitudes. Changes in organizational structure or development strategies can be used to accomplish this. One strategy is to persuade both individuals and groups that the status quo is unsustainable and that they need to reconsider their approach to the problem.


After the change has been completed, the final step involves the crystallization of the new state of affairs. Unless the improvements are reinforced through freezing, the organization may revert to old methods of doing things.

John Kotter’s 8-step Change Management Model


1: Establishing a sense of urgency

It helps if everyone in the company wants to change by creating a sense of urgency about the need for change and igniting the initial motivation to get things moving. By doing so, we give the change program weight and send a message that what's about to happen is significant. To make this work, we'll need a clear explanation of why change is critical to the organization's diverse stakeholders.


To create a sense of urgency:

üIdentifying and emphasizing potential dangers and consequences that may arise in the future.

üInvestigating the possibilities that can be realized through effective interventions.

üInitiate open and honest talks and discussions to encourage individuals to consider the issues at hand and to provide convincing arguments for doing so.

ü On the problem of change, request the participation and assistance of industry professionals, important stakeholders, and customers.

2: Forming a powerful coalition

A strong team is essential to convince people that change is necessary. We need credibility as change leaders to lead the change within the organization. A coalition should be built on the same mentality of people and HR with skills and experience.  The group should work continuously to check throughout every stage of the change and make sure that all key internal and external stakeholders are properly engaged in the process. To supervise, coordinate, and communicate its activities, a powerful group requires a coalition of capable individuals from among its ranks.


3: Creating a vision for change

Describe how the future will vary from the past, and how you can make the future a reality by launching projects that are directly related to the vision. A vision expresses the necessity for an organization to move in a specific path.


Change-related ideas and solutions must be linked to a larger vision that is easy to comprehend and remember. A good compelling vision sells what's going to make a difference, and how it'll make the company a better place to work for everyone.


The difficulty arises when the adjustment involves downsizing or significant cost reductions. Simply because it's terrible news, it's difficult to establish a powerful, compelling vision, and organizations must be very talented communicators to get a compelling vision across, regardless of the message.


4 Enlist an Army of Volunteers

Large-scale change can only happen when a large group of people bands together to pursue a similar goal. To drive change – moving in the same direction – they must be bought in urgently.


5 Enable Action by Removing Barriers

Inefficient processes and hierarchies can be barriers and should be removed to create the real outcome. By removing barriers, action can be generated.

Is there, however, anyone who is opposed to the change? Are there any procedures or structures that are obstructing it?


Set up a structure for change and keep an eye out for potential roadblocks. Removing roadblocks might help you empower the individuals you need to carry out your vision and bring the change forward.

What you can do to help:

ü Identify or hire change leaders whose primary responsibility is to implement the change.

ü Recognize and recognize those who have helped to bring about change.

ü Identify those who are fighting change and assist them in understanding what is required.


6 Generate Short-Term Success

To track progress and encourage volunteers to persevere, wins must be recognized, gathered, and conveyed — early and often.


7 Sustain Acceleration

After the initial results, increase your efforts. Systems, organizations, and policies can all benefit from your growing credibility. Continue to implement change after change until the goal becomes a reality.


Consolidating gains and continuously develop by analyzing success stories one by one and learning from each one. Many reform initiatives fail because success is declared too soon.  


8 Institute Change 

Make explicit the links between new behaviours and organizational success, and ensure that they are maintained until they are strong enough to replace old habits.

Changes in corporate culture should be anchored.


Relationship between Kurt Lewin's Change Theory and Kotter's 8-Step Change Model


Lewin Change Model

Kotter's Change Model


Steps 1 to 4


Steps 5 – 7


Step 8








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