ADKAR model of change

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Adkar model images | ToolsHero

This article explains the ADKAR model, developed by Jeff Hiatt in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful change management tool.

What is the ADKAR model?

Organizational change usually meets with employee resistance. The ADKAR model is a change management tool to help identify why change is difficult and why some changes succeed while others are unsuccessful.

The name ADKAR is an acronym that is based on five building blocks that bring about successful change. The letters stand for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement.

The ADKAR model was developed by Jeff Hiatt in 2003 and it was introduced as a practical tool by Prosci, a renowned change management consultancy and learning centre.

The ADKAR model is mainly intended to be a coaching and change management tool to help and assist employees through the change process within organizations.

Awareness building

All five elements of the ADKAR model are sequential. When bringing about change it is important that everyone understands the reason for the change as the natural reaction of employees to change is to resist.

This is why people need to be made aware of the need for change.

The precondition for implementing change is sound and extensive knowledge.

Learning new skills and steering toward a different behaviour are part of this. After change has been implemented it is necessary that this change is sustained in order to prevent a lapse into former behaviour.

The five building blocks of the ADKAR model

The ADKAR model outlines the five building blocks to achieve successful change management:
ADKAR model of change by Jeff Hiatt - Prosci | ToolsHero

1. Awareness

Employees must be made aware of the need for change.

2. Desire

Employees must have the desire to participate and fully support the change.

3. Knowledge

By gathering knowledge about the change process the (ultimate) goal of the change will become clear for the employees.

4. Ability

Because of the ability to learn new skills and by managing behaviour, change is accepted.

5. Reinforcement

Reinforcement to sustain the change makes it clear for all employees that there is no turning back.

Two dimensions

Change occurs on two dimensions: the organization and the employees. Change can only be successful if the change takes place simultaneously on both dimensions.

If stagnation surfaces in one of the building blocks in the ADKAR model, then it is advisable to take action with respect to this element.

This targeted approach focuses on the element with the highest chance of success.

The ADKAR model does not just help to determine in advance what steps need to be taken to achieve the right goal, but it also identifies, with the benefit of hindsight, why changes have not been successful.

This evaluation is valuable because it can help realize the change after all.

More information

  1. Shah, M. H. (2014). An Application of ADKAR Change Model for the Change Management Competencies of School Heads in Pakistan. Journal of Managerial Sciences, 8(1).
  2. Hiatt, J. M. (2006). ADKAR: a model for change in business, government and our community. Prosci Learning Center.
  3. Hiatt, J., & Creasey, T. J. (2003). Change management: The people side of change. Prosci.

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