Mastering the Change Curve Theoretical Background

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This report includes detailed information about the specific methods and research used to develop and test Mastering the Change Curve.

It's clear — recurring change is the norm in organisational life today. Still, most of us have difficulty dealing with it. Experts in the field of change management, Drs. Jaffe and Scott describe change as a natural progression through four phases. To successfully master change, individuals must pass through all four phases: Denial, Resistance, Exploration, and Commitment. Mastering the Change Curve uncovers individual reactions to change and provides an understanding of how behaviour affects success.

Learning Outcomes

• Gain an understanding of the four phases of change

• Pinpoint their current stage in the transition process

• Identify productive - and nonproductive change behaviours

• Develop a strategy to master change

Theory

Drs. Jaffe and Scott are experts in the field of change management. The authors describe change as natural progression through a series of four phases: Denial, Resistance, Exploration, and Commitment. To successfully deal with change, employees must pass through all four phases.

The Change Curve Model is based on the following principles of change:

• Change is an ongoing process rather than an event.

• There is a progressive sequence of change behaviours that needs to be experienced and mastered to be effective in handling change.

• Seemingly negative behaviours such as denial, apprehension, anger, and resistance, are normal and adaptive elements in the change process.

• There are specific strategies available to increase change mastery.

• The progression through the phases of change represents an opportunity for growth and responsible risk taking.

How it Works

Individuals begin by identifying a specific change in the organisation that they are experiencing. They then respond to 24 statements using a 5-point rating scale to indicate how true each statement is of their current reaction. Subtotal scores indicate where they are along the Change Curve. Individuals then learn more about the different phases of change (Denial, Resistance, Commitment, and Exploration.) Finally, discussion questions and action planning follow the discussion of each phase.

Uses for Mastering the Change Curve

Mastering the Change Curve is appropriate for individuals at any organisational level who are experiencing continuous change. The most appropriate target audience consists of individuals who are subject to change they did not initiate themselves.

Additional uses include:

• As a method of monitoring change when signs of resistance or difficulty have surfaced

• As a measurement to monitor and track progress through a change

• To help individuals understand their responses to change and plan ways to move through phases with which they may be having difficulty

• As a basis of discussion for groups, teams, business units, or an entire organisation in the midst of a change initiative

• As part of a workshop on change

• As part of a team-building session

• In a management retreat

• As part of a planning session on change.

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FORMAT Download
AUTHOR Dennis T. Jaffe, PhD and Cynthia D. Scott, PhD