The Prosci ADKAR® organizational change model has five stages: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. Like other change models, it focuses on preparing people for change, helping them change and then reinforcing the changes that have occurred.Summary by The World of Work Project
The ADKAR Change Model
The ADKAR model is a five stage model of change. It is built on the premise that large organizational changes are the product of many individual changes. The model is owned by the company Prosci (Professional Science) and used in their consulting work. You can learn more about them and there work via the Prosci website.
The five stages of the model are: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement.
Before people can even consider a change, they must be aware of the need to change / case for change.
Creating awareness often involves communication and education. Increasingly peer advocacy is seen as a powerful tool to raise awareness.
Awareness alone isn’t enough. Individuals still won’t change unless they want to.
Creating desire for change may involve communication, listing, co-creation, peer-advocacy, clear visions and explaining benefits.
To change effectively individuals must not only want to change, but also know how to change.
Increasing knowledge involves communication and training. People want to know the goal and the stages to follow to get there.
Once people know how to change they can start to develop their ability to do things in new ways.
Helping people increase their new abilities requires support, permission to fail, patience, quick wins and celebrating success.
Change will only be lasting if people keep using the new ways of working that they’ve learned.
To help embed new ways of doing or being so they become habits requires both positive and negative reinforcement. In other words, good behaviors need to be celebrated and rewarded and bad habits need to be challenged.
Organizations often seek to change and improve, and often use organizational development programs to do so. There are many models that seek to explain how change in organizations happens. Some models to consider in the first instance include Kotter’s 8 Step Model, The Burke-Litwin Model and Lewin’s Change Model.
It’s worth noting that there’s a lot of discussion and challenge around organizational change theories. We have several podcasts exploring this, including this one which takes a critical approach to process models of change:
The World of Work Project View
The ADKAR model is a useful framework for considering how to deliver lasting change. The focus on individuals and their motivations is a key aspect of change, and this model reflects that well. This model is similar to several other models of change at a high level.
The challenge with most change models though is not in their theory but in their practice. Delivering lasting change takes concerted thought, planning, effort and often requires multiple complementing initiatives. Many organizations don’t feel they have the time to deliver change in this way.
In addition, leading change like this requires an aligned senior leadership team who understand the change process. Again, this is not always the case in reality.
Sources and further reading
Where possible we always recommend that people read up on the original sources of information and ideas.
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