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9.3: Planned Change

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  • Lippitt, Watson, and Westley (1958) focus more on the role and responsibility of the change agent than on the process of the change itself. Their theory expands Lewin’s model of change into a seven-step process and emphasizes the participation of those affected by the change during the planning steps (Kritsonis, 2005; Lippitt et al., 1958). The seven steps of the planned change model include: (1) diagnosing the problem; (2) assessing the motivation and capacity for change in the system; (3) assessing the resources and motivation of the change agent; (4) establishing change objectives and strategies; (5) determining the role of the change agent; (6) maintaining the change; and (7) gradually terminating the helping relationship as the change becomes part of the organizational culture (see Table 9.3.1).

    The steps in this model place emphasis on those affected by the change, with a focus on communication skills, rapport building, problem-solving strategies, and establishing mechanisms for feedback (Kritsonis, 2005; Lehman, 2008).

    Phases of Change

    Ronald Havelock (1973) also modified Lewin’s model of change to include six phases of change from planning to monitoring (see Table 9.3.1). It is believed that Havelock further developed the unfreezing-change-refreezing model to address two social forces that were gaining momentum in society at the time: “the explosion of scientific knowledge, and the increasing expectation by policy-makers, governments, business and society that scientific knowledge should be useful to society” (Estabrooks, Thompson, Lovely, & Hofmeyer, 2006, pp. 29–30). Havelock argued that adapting Lewin’s change model to include knowledge building, which focused on a systematic integration of theories rather than disjointed approaches, would respond more effectively to real-life situations in managing change (Estabrooks et al., 2006).

    The six phases of Havelock’s model are as follows:

    1. Building a relationship. Havelock regarded the first step as a stage of “pre-contemplation” where a need for change in the system is determined.
    2. Diagnosing the problem. During this contemplation phase, the change agent must decide whether or not change is needed or desired. On occasion, the change process can end because the change agent decides that change is either not needed or not worth the effort.
    3. Acquire resources for change. At this step, the need for change is understood and the process of developing solutions begins as the change agent gathers as much information as possible relevant to the situation that requires change.
    4. Selecting a pathway for the solution. A pathway of change is selected from available options and then implemented.
    5. Establish and accept change. Individuals and organizations are often resistant to change, so careful attention must be given to making sure that the change becomes part of new routine behaviour. Effective communication strategies, staff response strategies, education, and support systems must be included during implementation.
    6. Maintenance and separation. The change agent should monitor the affected system to ensure the change is successfully stabilized and maintained. Once the change has become the new normal, the change agent can separate from the change event. (Tyson, 2010)

    Innovation Diffusion Theory

    Rogers’ five-step theory explains how an individual proceeds from having knowledge of an innovation to confirming the decision to adopt or reject the idea (see Figure 9.3.1) (Kritsonis, 2005; Wonglimpiyarat & Yuberk, 2005). A distinguishing feature of Rogers’ theory is that even if a change agent is unsuccessful in achieving the desired change, that change could be resurrected at a later, more opportune time or in a more appropriate form (Kritsonis, 2005). Roger also emphasizes the importance of including key people (i.e., policy-makers) interested in making the innovation happen, capitalizing on group strengths, and managing factors that impede the process. The five stages to Rogers’ theory are as follows:

    1. Knowledge. The individual is first exposed to an innovation but lacks information about the innovation.
    2. Persuasion. The individual is interested in the innovation and actively seeks related information and details.
    3. Decision. The individual considers change and weighs the advantages and disadvantages of implementing the innovation.
    4. Implementation. The individual implements the innovation and adjusts the innovation to the situation. During this stage the individual also determines the usefulness of the innovation and may search for further information about it.
    5. Confirmation. The individual finalizes the decision to continue using the innovation. (Rogers, 1995)

    Essential Learning Activity 9.3.1

    Watch the video “Lewin’s 3-Stage Model of Change: Unfreezing, Changing & Refreezing” (8:06) by for more about Lewin’s change model.

    Watch the video “Rogers Diffusion of Innovation” (3:15) by Kendal Pho, Yuri Dorovskikh, and Natalia Lara (Digital Pixels) for more about Rogers’ theory of innovation.

    Figure 9.3.1 The Five Steps of the Innovation Decision Process

     five steps, innovation, decision

    “The Five Steps of the Innovation Decision Process” by Sonia Udod and Joan Wagner, designed by JVDW Designs, is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

    Rogers’ innovation diffusion theory explains how, why, and at what rate new ideas are taken up by individuals. Rogers defines five-categories of innovation adopters. Innovators are willing to take risks; they are enthusiastic and thrive on change. They play a key role in the diffusion of innovation by introducing new ideas from the external system (Rogers, 1995). Early adopters are described as being more discreet in adoption choices than innovators. They are cautious in their adoption of change. The early majority are those people who take a significantly longer time to adopt an innovation as compared to the innovators and early adopters. The late majoritycomprise individuals who have a high degree of skepticism when it comes to adopting a change. Finally, the laggards are those who are last to adopt a change or innovation. They typically have an aversion to change and tend to be focused on traditions and avoid trends (Rogers, 1995).

    Table 9.3.1. Comparison of Traditional Change Models and Theories