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Using Kotter’s Eight Stage Process to Manage an Organisational Change Program: Presentation and Practice

Abstract

Kotter’s eight stage process for creating a major change is one of the most widely recognised models for change management, and yet there are few case studies in the academic literature that enquire into how this process has been used in practice. This paper describes a change manager’s action research enquiring into the use of this Process to manage a major organisational change. The change was initiated in response to the organisation’s ageing workforce, introducing a knowledge management program focusing on the interpersonal aspects of knowledge retention. Although Kotter’s process emphasises a top-led model for change, the change team found it was necessary to engage at many levels of the organisation to implement the organisational change. The process is typically depicted as a linear sequence of steps. However, this image of the change process was found to not represent the complexity of the required action. Managing the change required the change team to facilitate multiple concurrent instances of Kotter’s process throughout the organisation, to re-create change that was locally relevant to participants in the change process.

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Correspondence to Julien Pollack.

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Pollack, J., Pollack, R. Using Kotter’s Eight Stage Process to Manage an Organisational Change Program: Presentation and Practice. Syst Pract Action Res 28, 51–66 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-014-9317-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-014-9317-0

Keywords

  • Change management
  • Organisational change
  • Kotter’s eight stage process
  • Knowledge management
  • Aging workforce
  • Action research