Change Model (Beckhard)
Change Equation

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Getting a quick, first impression of the possibilities and conditions to change an organization. Explanation of Change Equation of Beckhard and Harris. ('87)



The Change Model (also: Change Formula, Change Equation) of Richard Beckhard and Reuben T. Harris (1987) is actually attributed by them to  David Gleicher. It is a simple yet powerful tool that gives you a quick, first impression of the possibilities and conditions to change an organization.

Beckhard Change Model Formula EquationA milestone in Organizational Development

Historically, the Change Equation can be seen as a major milestone for the field of Organizational Development. Organization Development has expanded gradually over time, in response to the needs of employers. These employers not only want to move their organizations forward in terms of business objectives, but also in terms of employee engagement. Today's employers understand the connection between employee involvement and organizational success.

Employee involvement

The move to employee involvement in change, and the use of internal or external consultants to manage reactions to change, represents a shift in thinking from earlier management theory, such as Frederick Winslow Taylor's scientific management approach, which became known as Taylorism. This "command-and-control" approach drew a sharp line between managers and employees. The underlying philosophy was that "workers work, and managers think." Taylor's method was a reflection of the times, i.e., the industrial age with its factories unions, and assembly lines - environments that needed tight management control.

Taylor's view was eventually complemented (replaced) by the human relations movement, as organizational psychology and group dynamics evolved, paving the way for more worker involvement and benefits, and the theory of worker motivation.

Formula of the Change Equation

The Change Model Formula (Change Equation) is:

D  x  V  x  F  >  R




Dissatisfaction  x  Vision  x  First Steps  >  Resistance to Change

Three components of overcoming resistance

The Change Equation can help one understand that all three components must be present to overcome the resistance to change in an organization:

  • Dissatisfaction with the present situation,
  • Vision of what is possible in the future, and
  • Achievable first steps towards reaching this vision.

If any of the three is zero or near zero, the product will also be zero or near zero and the resistance to change will dominate.

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Usage (application): Leading Major and Minor Change Initiatives

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Usage (application): Initiate, implement, develop and sustain change

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The Nature and Complexity of Organizational Change

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Change Equation Diagram

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Usage (application): Overcoming Resistance to Change

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Compare with the Change Model Formula: DICE Framework  |  Forget Borrow Learn  |  Changing Organization Cultures  |  Appreciative Inquiry  |  Positive Deviance  |  RACI  |  Change Iceberg  |  Change Phases  |  Force Field Analysis  |  Planned Behavior  |  Business Process Reengineering  |  Kaizen  |  Dimensions of Change  |  Seven Habits

Return to Management Hub: Change & Organization  |  Human Resources  |  Leadership  |  Program & Project Management

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