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Building Resilience in Organizations through Change Models

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Change is an inevitable part of organizational life. Whether it is due to technological advancements, market shifts, or internal restructuring, organizations must constantly adapt to stay competitive and relevant. However, change can be disruptive and unsettling for employees, leading to resistance, decreased productivity, and even organizational failure. Building resilience in organizations through change models is crucial to navigate these challenges and ensure successful change implementation. In this article, we will explore the concept of resilience, discuss various change models, and provide insights on how organizations can effectively build resilience to thrive in times of change.

The Concept of Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, adapt to change, and thrive in the face of challenges. In the context of organizations, resilience refers to the capacity to withstand and recover from disruptions, setbacks, and change. Resilient organizations are better equipped to navigate uncertainty, maintain employee engagement, and achieve their strategic objectives.

Research has shown that resilient organizations outperform their less resilient counterparts in terms of financial performance, employee satisfaction, and customer loyalty. They are better able to anticipate and respond to change, seize opportunities, and mitigate risks. Building resilience in organizations is therefore essential for long-term success and sustainability.

The Kubler-Ross Change Curve

The Kubler-Ross Change Curve, also known as the Five stages of grief, is a widely recognized model that explains the emotional journey individuals go through when faced with change. Developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in the 1960s, this model originally described the stages of grief experienced by terminally ill patients. However, it has since been adapted to explain the emotional response to any significant change or loss.

The five stages of the Kubler-Ross Change Curve are:

  • Denial: In this stage, individuals resist and deny the reality of the change. They may feel shock, disbelief, and a sense of loss.
  • Anger: As the reality of the change sets in, individuals may experience anger, frustration, and resentment. They may direct their anger towards leaders, colleagues, or the organization itself.
  • Bargaining: In an attempt to regain control, individuals may engage in bargaining or negotiation. They may seek alternative solutions or try to delay or modify the change.
  • Depression: As the change becomes inevitable, individuals may experience feelings of sadness, helplessness, and loss of motivation. They may withdraw and become disengaged.
  • Acceptance: In this final stage, individuals come to terms with the change and begin to adapt. They regain their energy, focus, and commitment.

Understanding the Kubler-Ross Change Curve can help organizations anticipate and address the emotional reactions of employees during times of change. By acknowledging and supporting individuals through each stage, organizations can facilitate a smoother transition and build resilience.

The ADKAR Model

The ADKAR Model is a goal-oriented change management model that focuses on individual change. Developed by Prosci, a leading change management research and advisory firm, the ADKAR Model provides a structured approach to help individuals navigate change successfully.

The five elements of the ADKAR Model are:

  • Awareness: Individuals must understand the need for change and the reasons behind it. They need to be aware of the benefits and consequences of the change.
  • Desire: Individuals must develop a personal desire to support and participate in the change. They need to see the value and relevance of the change to their own work and goals.
  • Knowledge: Individuals must acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to implement the change. They need to understand how to perform new tasks and adapt to new processes.
  • Ability: Individuals must have the ability to apply their knowledge and skills in the context of the change. They need to be confident in their ability to perform effectively.
  • Reinforcement: Individuals must receive ongoing reinforcement and support to sustain the change. They need feedback, recognition, and rewards to stay motivated and committed.

The ADKAR Model emphasizes the importance of addressing individual needs and concerns during change. By focusing on building awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement, organizations can enhance employee resilience and ensure successful change adoption.

The Satir Change Model

The Satir Change Model, developed by family therapist Virginia Satir, provides a framework for understanding the process of change in human systems. While originally designed for family therapy, this model has been widely applied to organizational change.

The Satir Change Model consists of four stages:

  • Old Status Quo: In this stage, individuals and the organization are operating within their familiar routines and patterns. There may be a sense of stability, but also limitations and inefficiencies.
  • Foreign Element: A foreign element, such as a new technology, market disruption, or leadership change, disrupts the old status quo. This creates a sense of chaos, uncertainty, and resistance.
  • Chaos: In this stage, the organization experiences a breakdown of old patterns and structures. There may be conflicts, power struggles, and confusion. This is a critical stage where new possibilities can emerge.
  • Integration: As the chaos subsides, the organization begins to integrate the new elements and establish a new status quo. This stage requires open communication, collaboration, and a shared vision.

The Satir Change Model highlights the importance of embracing chaos and uncertainty as opportunities for growth and transformation. By navigating through the stages of old status quo, foreign element, chaos, and integration, organizations can build resilience and adapt to change more effectively.

The Prosci ADKAR and Satir Change Model Integration

While the ADKAR Model and the Satir Change Model are distinct change models, they can be integrated to provide a comprehensive approach to building resilience in organizations.

By combining the individual-focused ADKAR Model with the system-focused Satir Change Model, organizations can address both the emotional and structural aspects of change. This integration allows for a holistic approach that considers the needs of individuals, teams, and the organization as a whole.

When implementing change, organizations can follow the ADKAR Model to support individuals through the stages of awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. Simultaneously, they can apply the Satir Change Model to navigate the stages of old status quo, foreign element, chaos, and integration at the organizational level.

This integrated approach helps organizations build resilience by fostering individual commitment, enhancing communication and collaboration, and aligning the organization’s culture and systems with the desired change.


Building resilience in organizations through change models is essential for success in today’s dynamic and unpredictable business environment. By understanding the concept of resilience and implementing effective change models such as the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, the ADKAR Model, and the Satir Change Model, organizations can navigate change more effectively, maintain employee engagement, and achieve their strategic objectives.

Resilient organizations are better equipped to adapt to change, seize opportunities, and mitigate risks. They outperform their less resilient counterparts in terms of financial performance, employee satisfaction, and customer loyalty. Therefore, investing in building resilience through change models is not only a strategic imperative but also a competitive advantage.

As organizations continue to face increasing levels of change and uncertainty, building resilience will become even more critical. By embracing change models and fostering a culture of resilience, organizations can thrive in times of change and position themselves for long-term success.

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