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What is the Change Management Cycle?

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  • Written By: Osmand Vitez
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2016
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The change management cycle is a four-stage process companies go through when they adjust their business operations. While change is common in business, the process companies go through to accept or deny the change can vary. The four common change management cycle stages are denial, resistance, acceptance and exploration, and commitment. Each stage requires some amount of time for planning and preparing for change. Businesses can change for a variety of reasons, although they mostly do so to remain relevant in the business environment.

Denial is common among many business owners, directors, managers, and employees. This change management cycle stage can result in delays or other issues that will hamper the company’s operations. Denial is also easy. Owners and managers may ignore the problem because they think it is not important or the issue will be avoided by the company. Denial can also exist at several levels of an organization. Although the owner or other management may realize the need for change, they may face resistance from others in their organization.

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Resistance is the stage where individuals understand the need for change but do not wish to alter operations. The need for a change management cycle is often unfamiliar and individuals may fear what change will bring. Resistance is common among employees who fear for their job or changes to their compensation and benefits packages. Overcoming resistance is often done a little bit at a time. Owners and managers must discover the common fears held among employees and deal with these issues prior to moving forward in the change management cycle.

Acceptance and exploration is a two-part process. Once the entire organization accepts the change as necessary and unavoidable, it will begin to explore options or avenues to make the necessary changes. The exploration stage can take some time, depending on the type of change and options available for the company. Company-wide change may also take more time to implement, meaning that companies will also need to create a schedule for the change process.

Commitment is an ongoing process ofor organizations. While the change process may come and go, business owners and managers must commit to the new operations and measuring performance on a continuing basis. Additionally, companies may discover that overarching changes may need future alterations or adjustments to ensure the company can maximize the benefits of the change. Business owners and managers may also need to plan for competitors to make changes as well, which can reduce benefits or create shifts in the economic market.

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