Communication Framework (Quirke)

Communication Framework - quirke

Communication Framework: this article explains the Communication Framework, developed by Bill Quirke in a practical way. The article starts with the definition and general explanation of the model, followed by a description of the different phases that employees and companies go through in the process of change. You can also read more about the reasons why resistance to change arises and what organizations can do to remove this resistance. Enjoy reading!

What is the Communication Framework?

Change is a recurring part of our lives and is a critical part of success for organizations. The ability to deal effectively with change is therefore an important skill for employees, managers and organizations as a whole.

Implementing change is not always easy. Resistance or opposition often arises, which the organization must deal with adequately. Various experts in the field of change management have therefore developed models and techniques that help organizations successfully implement change initiatives.

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One of these is the Communication Framework, developed by Bill Quirke, and described in a book on internal communication by the Dutch Erik Reijnders, titled ‘Basisboek voor Interne Communicatie’.

Explanation of Quirke’s Communication Framework

The Communication Framework describes the different phases that employees go through when experiencing change initiatives at work.

The Communication Framework is specifically designed to help organizations understand why people resist change and how this resistance can be overcome through communication and creating commitment and ownership.

The Communication Framework consists of five phases:

  1. Knowing about
  2. Understanding
  3. Supporting
  4. Feeling involved
  5. Feeling connected

By understanding these phases, organizations can adjust their change strategy and communication plan to increase employee engagement and acceptance. This increases the chance that the implementation of the new changes will be successful.

Examples of other change management models include:

  • Lewin’s 3-phase Change Model: Lewin proposes to manage organizational change by going through three phases: unfreeze, change, and refreeze.
  • McKinsey 7-S Framework: this model assesses seven elements of an organization (strategy, structure, systems, style, staff, skills, and shared values) to understand their interrelationship and manage change.
  • ADKAR Model of Change: this model focuses on the individual and the five elements necessary for personal change: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement.
  • Bridges Transition Model: this model describes the three emotional phases people go through during a change: saying goodbye to the old (ends), uncertainty about the change, (neutral zone) and acceptance and integration of the new (new beginnings).
  • Agile and Scrum: these methods are used to manage organizational change and are based on flexibility, collaboration and feedback to manage change in a structured and iterative way.

From becoming aware to feeling connected (example)

Below you will find the different phases of Quirke’s Communication Framework. Each time you will find a short example of what this phase could look like under the description.

Phase 1 – Knowing about

In this phase of the Communication Framework, the change is announced and employees become aware of what will change.

It is important to inform employees about the changes as soon as possible and give them enough time to adapt to the idea of the change.

This can cause fear, anxiety and uncertainty. It is therefore important to communicate the information in a clear and transparent manner and to answer any questions.

An example of this stage is when a company announces a new business strategy that may affect the workload of its employees.

Phase 2 – Understanding

In this phase of the Communication Framework, employees try to understand the change and what it means for them and their work.

This is an important stage as it can help reduce resistance to change. It is important to involve employees and give them time to ask questions and raise any concerns.

By communicating openly and honestly about the change and the reasons behind it, employees can feel more comfortable and open to the change.

An example of this phase is when a company announces that they are going to implement a new software and employees are given time to get to know the software and ask questions.

Phase 3 – Supporting

In this phase of this Communication Framework, employees begin to accept and support the change. This is an important stage because it shows that employees are willing to embrace and contribute to the change.

It is important to encourage employees to be open to the change and to recognize and reward their efforts.

This can help build momentum and motivate employees to keep working on the change.

An example of this phase is when a company implements a new way of working and employees actively participate in the training and embrace the new way of working.

Phase 4 – Feeling involved

In this phase of the Communication Framework, employees become involved in the change and feel motivated to contribute to it.
Employees are starting to see the benefits of the change and are inspired to contribute.

It is important to give employees the space to come up with creative solutions and share them with the team.

By involving employees and taking their ideas seriously, organizations can further increase the benefits of the change.

An example of this stage is when employees in a company launch a new project and actively brainstorm about ways to make the project a success.

Phase 5 – Feeling connected

In the last phase of the Communication Framework, employees experience a sense of connection with the change and the new work process.

They have had time to adapt to the change and have been given the necessary support to make the transition. When employees feel connected to the change, they experience a sense of involvement and identify with the new way of working.

They have developed confidence that the change will yield positive results and that it is worth fully committing to.

In this phase, employees can also experience a sense of accomplishment and pride because they have successfully contributed to the implementation of the change. They have developed the necessary skills and knowledge to work effectively within the new system.

An example of this phase is when employees have fully adapted to a new digital work environment. They have learned to use new tools and technologies and are now experiencing the benefits of working more efficiently and collaborating better.

Why is there resistance to change?

Change is uncomfortable for many people. The idea of stepping out of the comfort zone and embracing a new way of working causes fear and uncertainty. People prefer to see continuity. Resistance to change is often directed not so much against the change itself, but against the uncertainty and ambiguity associated with it.

This can lead to resistance and hinder the success of change in organizations. In organizations, resistance to change can have various causes.

Employees may feel threatened by the change, for example because they are afraid of losing their job or reducing their status. The change can also increase the workload or cause a temporary decrease in productivity, which can provoke fear or resistance.

Furthermore, unclear communication about the change can lead to uncertainty and resistance. Research shows that only about 30% of organizational change initiatives are successful.

The most common reasons for change failure are resistance to change and a lack of clear communication about the change. Other reasons may include a lack of support from executives, inadequate training and support for employees, and a lack of employee involvement in the change process.

It is therefore important that organizations do everything they can to reduce resistance to change. For example, it is important to communicate clearly about the change and to involve employees in the change process.

It is also important to provide good training and support for employees and to involve managers in the change process. In this way, the chance of success of change in organizations can be increased.

How do I remove resistance?

There are several ways companies can overcome resistance to change. Below are some suggestions:


Good communication is very important when implementing changes.

By communicating openly and transparently about the change and the reasons why it is needed, employees can better understand why the change is happening and what the benefits are for the organization and for themselves.

Companies must therefore ensure consistent communication about the progress of the change and any challenges that arise.


Involving employees in the change process can help to remove resistance.

By involving employees in the process of change, they feel heard and valued and are more motivated to support the change.

For example, companies can involve employees in coming up with solutions to challenges that arise while implementing the change.


Offering training and support to employees can help to overcome resistance. New processes or systems can be stressful for employees who are not familiar with these changes.

Companies can train and educate employees to help them understand the new processes or systems and feel more comfortable with the change.


Offering rewards to employees who support the change can help overcome resistance. Companies can reward employees for achieving certain milestones while implementing the change or for proposing solutions to challenges that arise during the process.


Gathering feedback from employees about the change can help overcome resistance.

By giving employees the opportunity to express their views on the change and how it affects their work, companies can identify and resolve any issues in a timely manner and better involve employees in the process of change.

By taking these measures, companies can remove resistance to change and ensure that the implementation of change runs more smoothly.

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Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation about the Communication Framework? Which change management models have you already worked with? Do you think organizations are doing enough to remove resistance from employees? Do you have any tips or comments to enrich this article? Or would you like to see an article on a related topic? Let us know in the comments or fill out the contact form.

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Hughes, M. (2007). The tools and techniques of change management. Journal of change management, 7(1), 37-49.
  2. Bechtel, R. L., & Squires, J. K. (2001). Tools and techniques to facilitate change. Industrial and Commercial Training, 33(7), 249-255.
  3. Watson, G. (1971). Resistance to change. American behavioral scientist, 14(5), 745-766.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2023). Communication Framework (Quirke). Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero:

Original publication date: 03/10/2023 | Last update: 03/10/2023

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Ben Janse
Article by:

Ben Janse

Ben Janse is a young professional working at ToolsHero as Content Manager. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business School where he focusses on analyzing and developing management models. Thanks to his theoretical and practical knowledge, he knows how to distinguish main- and side issues and to make the essence of each article clearly visible.


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