Individual And Organizational Change Integration

Organizations are continuously introducing changes in response to internal and external stimuli. Some of these changes focus on processes, others on technologies, and others on the structure of the organization. Regardless of the type, each of these changes requires the organization to move from the current state through a transition state to a new, future state. However, organizations are made up of many individuals who all need to move from their own current to future states. Change management seeks to help the organization change effectively, which means change management must also ensure that individuals embrace and adopt change.


The Prosci change management methodology provides change management practitioners with the processes and tools to build customized, targeted and research-based change management strategies and plans to drive project results and outcomes. The unique integration of individual change management and organizational change management leads to a results-oriented approach that meets the needs of the individuals impacted by change. An individual change model is crucial for effective change management because of the reality that change must happen one individual at a time. Each impacted employee must move from their own current state to their own future state.


Influencing individual change requires an understanding of how one person makes a change successfully. Whether at home, in the community, or at work, individuals move through the change process in a predictable way. Individual change management provides a framework for enabling one person to make a transition.

The Prosci ADKAR® Model is the individual component of the Prosci change management methodology. This model describes the five building blocks of successful individual change: awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. Here are the questions each part of the ADKAR Model answers:

AWARENESS of the need for change

  • Why is the change happening and happening now?
  • What is the risk of not changing?

DESIRE to participate in and support the change

  • What are the personal motivators and organizational drivers that would cause me to support the change?

KNOWLEDGE on how to change

  • What knowledge, skills and behaviors are required during and after the change is implemented?

ABILITY to implement required skills and behaviors

  • How do I demonstrate the ability to do my job the new way?
  • What barriers may inhibit me making the change?

REINFORCEMENT to sustain the change

  • Are meaningful reinforcements in place that will ensure I sustain this change?

Because the ADKAR Model is an individual model, it describes the change process from the perspective of one impacted employee whose job is being changed as a result of a project or initiative. Whether it is a new process, a new technology, a new job role or a new behavior, a person makes the change successfully when they have awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. If the change impacts 1,000 people, then the change will only be fully realized when all 1,000 people have achieved each step of the ADKAR Model.

In the Prosci change management methodology, the ADKAR Model is used in a number of ways:

  • Helping individuals make sense of change
  • Guiding organizational change management plans
  • Measuring progress of a change
  • Diagnosing gaps and developing corrective actions
  • Enabling managers and supervisors to lead change
  • Providing a common language for change across the organization


While change does happen one person at a time, most projects and initiatives impact many people, and taking a one-person-at-a-time approach is not feasible. Organizational change management describes the steps, activities and tools a project or change management team can follow to enable the required individual changes on a broader scale. The Prosci 3-Phase Process presents a research-based approach for creating customized change management strategy and plans that all play a role in influencing individual change.

Prosci 3-Phase Process for organizational change

The Prosci 3-Phase Process includes: Preparing for change, Managing change and Reinforcing change. Each phase contains associated activities and tools for change management practitioners:

Phase 1: Preparing for change

  • Conduct readiness assessments
  • Develop risk analysis
  • Identify special tactics
  • Identify anticipated resistance
  • Document strategy
  • Architect team structure and prepare the team
  • Develop sponsorship model and prepare sponsors

Phase 2: Managing change

  • Customize activities based on strategy analysis
  • Create communications plan
  • Create sponsor roadmap
  • Create coaching plan
  • Create training plan
  • Create resistance management plan
  • Integrate plans into the overall project plan
  • Execute change management plans

Phase 3: Reinforcing change

  • Collect proactive feedback
  • Listen to employees
  • Audit compliance
  • Identify gaps
  • Identify resistance and pockets of resistance
  • Celebrate successes
  • Transition to business as usual

While the ADKAR Model focuses on how a single person changes, the organizational change management process focuses on the activities taken by a team to enable those individual transitions in many people.


An effective change management approach requires two components: an individual change management model that describes how a single person makes a change, and an organizational change management process that describes the process and tools practitioners use.
The individual change management model provides the outcome-orientation to change management. The ADKAR Model describes what you are trying to achieve through organizational change management efforts.

The organizational change management process provides the activity-orientation and lays out the actions a practitioner must complete for a project or initiative. The Prosci 3-Phase Process describes what you will do to build change management plans that ultimately influence the individual transitions required by your project.

Managing change without both perspectives is ineffective. Without an individual change management model, your work is only focused on the activities, such as sending a communication, without an orientation to the desired outcome of those activities, such as building awareness of the need for change.

But without an organizational change management process, changes become unmanageable when they impact dozens or hundreds or thousands of employees. The organizational change management framework guides change management work in a scalable and repeatable way.
The Prosci change management methodology uniquely integrates individual change management and organizational change management. Here are a few ways these perspectives integrate when a practitioner applies the Prosci 3-Phase Process. During each step of the organizational 3-Phase Process, a practitioner will meet the needs of the individuals required to change by the project:

Phase 1: Preparing for change

Identifying impacted groups
Defining the required individual changes
Anticipating resistance from impacted groups
Creating a sponsor model representing impacted groups

Phase 2: Managing change

Answers to these questions:

  • What do we communicate?
  • Why are sponsors important?
  • What coaching do we need?
  • What training do we need?
  • How will we manage resistance?

Phase 3: Reinforcing change

  • Collecting individual feedback
  • Listening to impacted employees
  • Auditing compliance at the individual level
  • Measuring if the change is happening
  • Identifying gaps and developing appropriate responses

Successful change management occurs by integrating an outcome-oriented individual change management approach and an activity-oriented organizational change management approach. By aligning what you are trying to achieve with what you are doing, you can ensure change management contributes to more successful organizational and project outcomes.

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