Managing change in business involves anticipating, planning for, and implementing changes in an organisation in a way that minimises disruption and maximises the chances of success. Managing change in business may involve using models such as Lewin’s three stages of change or the POPIT model to guide the process. It may also involve using techniques to overcome resistance to change, such as education and communication, participation and involvement, and facilitation and support. Ultimately, to ensure an organisation is effectively managing change in business, change management requires a clear vision and purpose, a well-planned process, appropriate resources and support, and effective transition management.

Types of Change

There are four types of change that can occur in a business: incremental, adaptive, revolutionary, and quantum.

Incremental change involves small, gradual improvements to an existing product, process, or service. It is the most common type of change, and it occurs at a slow pace.

Adaptive change involves modifying the way a business operates in response to external factors, such as changes in the market or changes in customer needs. This type of change occurs at a moderate pace.

Revolutionary change involves completely overhauling the way a business operates, often by introducing new products, processes, or services. This type of change occurs at a faster pace than incremental or adaptive change.

Quantum change involves a radical shift in the fundamental assumptions or principles upon which a business is based. It is the most dramatic and rare type of change, and it occurs at a very fast pace.


Culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, and practices of an organisation. It plays a significant role in shaping the behaviour of individuals within an organisation and can influence the way change is perceived and implemented.

The cultural web is a framework that helps to understand the various elements that make up an organisation’s culture. It includes six interrelated components: stories, symbols, power structures, control systems, rituals and routines, and cultural assumptions. These elements work together to create and reinforce the culture of an organisation.

A strong culture can have both advantages and disadvantages for a business. Some advantages include:

  • Increased commitment and loyalty from employees
  • Improved communication and decision-making
  • Greater consistency in the way the business is run

Some disadvantages include:

  • Difficulty in adapting to change
  • Resistance to new ideas and approaches
  • Difficulty in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce

Overall, a strong culture can be beneficial for a business, as long as it is aligned with the goals and values of the organisation and is flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.

3 Stages of Change

Kurt Lewin, a pioneer in the field of social psychology, developed a model of change that consists of three stages: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing.

The first stage, unfreezing, involves breaking down the existing mental models and beliefs that are preventing change from occurring. This stage may involve creating a sense of urgency or dissatisfaction with the status quo, as well as providing support and resources to help people cope with the change.

The second stage, changing, involves implementing the actual changes and adopting new behaviours and attitudes. This stage may involve providing training and support to help people learn new skills and adopt new ways of doing things.

The third stage, refreezing, involves consolidating the changes and making them the new norm. This stage may involve reinforcing the new behaviours and attitudes through rewards and recognition, as well as addressing any remaining resistance to the change.

Overcoming resistance to change

There are several methods of overcoming resistance to change from a change management perspective:

  1. Education and communication: Providing information and explaining the reasons for the change can help to reduce uncertainty and address concerns.
  2. Participation and involvement: Involving employees in the change process can help to build commitment and ownership.
  3. Facilitation and support: Providing resources and support to help employees adapt to the change can ease the transition.
  4. Negotiation and agreement: Finding ways to address the concerns and needs of employees can help to build consensus and reduce resistance.
  5. Manipulation and co-optation: Using tactics such as persuasion or incentives to influence attitudes and behaviours can help to reduce resistance, but may also erode trust.
  6. Coercion: Using threats or punishment to force compliance can be effective in the short term, but may damage relationships and create long-term resistance.

Change kaleidoscope

The change kaleidoscope is a model that was developed to understand the complex and dynamic nature of change in organisations. It identifies six interrelated dimensions of change: content, process, context, culture, power, and emotion. These dimensions interact and influence one another in complex ways, creating a constantly shifting pattern of change.

POPIT model

The POPIT model is a framework for understanding and managing change in organisations. It stands for Purpose, Outcomes, Process, Inputs, and Transition. The model emphasises the importance of having a clear purpose and desired outcomes for the change, as well as a well-planned process and appropriate inputs (such as resources and support). It also emphasises the importance of managing the transition to the new state, including addressing any resistance or concerns.

This content can be used as part of the Strategic Business Leader (SBL) module for the Association of Chartered & Certified Accountants (ACCA) examination.
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