Holden, et al. (2008) synthesized the literature on organization-level change to develop 30 principles of success change management efforts. They include:
Principle 1. Successful organization-level change requires a holistic, systems approach. This means paying attention to all levels of the system including macro-level elements such as culture, management, and the environment, as well as to the interaction-rich system as a whole.
Principle 2. Change is dynamic, and thus change management will occur over time, either in spurts and episodes or continuously. There is a need for sustained effort, repetition, and iteration.
Principle 3. Efforts must be made to consider the existing politics and culture of the organization and its units. Change agents must know of and partake in the dominant customs and rituals of the culture in order to fit in and to please key political players.
Principle 4. Change agents must scan the system internally to gain an understanding of the organization’s structure, culture, workflow, policies, procedures, internal stakeholder demands, and intra- and extra-organizational boundaries.
Principle 5. Internal system scans will identify differences between units within the organization that need to be considered in the implementation; if differences are great, separate implementation plans may need to be tailored to individual units.
Principle 6. Change agents must scan the external environment to identify the external (e.g., market, legislative, public opinion) forces and stakeholders who will affect and be affected by the change. Stakeholder demands must be identified.
Principle 7. Benchmark the successful changes of other organizations to identify how one’s own change process can be improved.
Principle 8. Gauge the organization’s readiness for change, focusing on individuals’ early beliefs, attitudes, and intentions vis-a` -vis change. Every effort should be taken to select organizations or units that are ready, or else to ready them.
Principle 9. Form a powerful team that includes individuals who have power in terms of titles, reputations, relationships, knowledge, and interpersonal skills. Education and encouragement should be aimed at securing a shared vision, commitment, and appropriate teamwork.
Principle 10. A competent, dynamic change leader will serve as the face of the change and will play many roles. The individual chosen for this must have the highest possible technical and interpersonal skills in order to lead the change, manage the change, or consult the change team.
Principle 11. Identify and make contact with informal employee leaders who can champion the change, lead fellow employees, and generally act as a bridge between change agents and internal stakeholders.
Principle 12. Identify opinion leaders and their attitudes toward the change; promote these individuals’ positive feelings toward the change and address their concerns before they spread throughout the organization.
Principle 13. Whenever possible, involve employees in the design and implementation of change, being careful to train employees appropriately on the competencies needed for successful participation (e.g., teamwork, information on how to design and implement changes).
Principle 14. Follow-through on all of the planning done ahead of time, while keeping in mind that unanticipated predicaments will require problem solving and improvisation.
Principle 15. Develop structured plans, including timelines, planned outcomes, contingency plans, and an explicit purpose and vision statement.
Principle 16. Establish specific, achievable, and measurable desired outcomes.
Principle 17. Create an agreed-upon vision statement that is clear, concise, and specific enough to guide the entire change process.
Principle 18. Make a positive initial impression and continue to reinforce it throughout.
Principle 19. Participating in the change must be perceived to maximize the benefits that are relatively important to individuals and to minimize costs unless the costs are relatively unimportant. The key cost-benefit perceptions may be related to the usefulness and ease of participating in the change.
Principle 20. Participating in the change must be perceived as encouraged by individuals who matter, be they coworkers, managers, clients, regulatory agencies, or any other important groups or people.
Principle 21. Participating in the change must be perceived as being under volitional control and individuals must be convinced that they have the ability to participate successfully.
Principle 22. Make the individuals who are deciding whether to adopt the change aware of the positive characteristics of the change, including relative advantage, compatibility, trialability, low complexity, and many others.
Principle 23. Openly and persuasively communicate all positive and negative aspects of the change through all possible channels.
Principle 24. The design and implementation of the change must actually have the positive characteristics associated with acceptance.
Principle 25. Design all interactions within the organization to convey fairness in how the change process was conducted.
Principle 26. Manage individuals’ stress responses by being open and honest, providing adequate and relevant information, showing gratitude, and generally conveying an impression of psychological safety.
Principle 27. Provide the skills, training, freedom, information, financial support, and tools, which are all necessary for individuals to be able to successfully take part in the change.
Principle 28. Secure and maintain management support throughout the change effort.
Principle 29. Although short-term wins are important, change must be sustained over the long term.
Principle 30. Evaluate and continuously refine the change effort.
Holden, R.J., Or, C.K.L., Alper, S.J., Rivera, A.J., & Karsh, B.T. (2008). A change management framework for macroergonomic field research. Applied Ergonomics, 38, 459-474.