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Lewin’s Change Model vs Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model 

Lewin's Change Model

A crucial component of every organization’s expansion and improvement is change management. Understanding change management techniques enables firms to adjust to changing market circumstances and maintain their competitiveness, whether you’re starting a Change Management Training program or want to learn more about these tactics. Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model and Lewin’s Change Management Model are two well-known models that provide an organized change management method. 

In this blog, we will look at the distinctions and resemblances between these two change management methods, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each. This comparison will provide insightful information to assist you in navigating organizational change. 

Table of Contents 

Lewin’s Change Management Model: A Foundational Approach 

Early in the 20th century, noted psychologist and social psychology pioneer Kurt Lewin created the Change Management Model. The three-step approach highlights how crucial it is to unfreeze the organization in its present condition, make the required adjustments, and refreeze it in its altered state. Many modern change management strategies are said to have their roots in Lewin’s approach to change. 

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Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model: A Comprehensive Blueprint 

Conversely, Harvard Business School professor John Kotter presented his 8-Step Change Model in the 1990s. A more complicated framework that tackles the difficulties and intricacies of contemporary companies is Kotter’s Model. Among other important stages, it emphasises promoting short-term victories, forming a steering coalition, and instilling a feeling of urgency. Organisations navigating big, complicated transformations often choose Kotter’s paradigm. 

Key Differences between Lewin and Kotter 

The intricacy and number of stages required are the main distinctions between Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model and Lewin’s Change Model. Lewin’s approach is easier to understand and implement since it is simpler, consisting of just three phases. Kotter’s Model, on the other hand, offers a more thorough, sequential approach to change management and consists of eight separate phases. 

Lewin’s approach differs noticeably in that it emphasises the concept of “unfreezing,” which entails dismantling the existing mentality, implementing change, and then “refreezing” to create a new state. This method works well for small, steady adjustments and is often used to teach core ideas in change management training. 

In contrast, Kotter’s approach emphasises the need to form a coalition that will provide direction and instil a feeling of urgency. It acknowledges the significance of inspiring employees to spearhead change. Complex, revolutionary changes like organisational reorganisation or a change in business culture are better suited for this strategy. 

Similarities between Lewin and Kotter 

These two change management methods are different from one another, yet they also have certain things in common. Both approaches acknowledge the significance of including important stakeholders in the transformation process. They also understand how important communication is and how important it is to have a compelling vision of the desired transformation. 

Both models also emphasise how important it is to have strong leadership. Leadership is essential to both models, whether Kotter emphasises creating a leading coalition or Lewin guides the process via unfreezing, adjusting, and refreezing. 

Selecting the Right Model 

The decision between Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model and Lewin’s Change Management Model is mainly based on the particular requirements and conditions of a company. The scope and magnitude of the change must be determined before starting the change management process. Lewin’s paradigm would be more appropriate if the shift is gradual or relatively easy. Given that it offers a solid fundamental knowledge of the change process, it is a great option for change management training programs. 

On the other hand, Kotter’s 8-Step Model provides a more thorough framework for complicated and revolutionary changes that need broad support from several stakeholders. It is especially helpful in assisting firms in navigating the difficulties presented by today’s fast-paced business climate. 


The decision between Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model and Lewin’s Change Model in change management should be based on the kind and extent of the change project. While Kotter’s Model gives a more comprehensive framework appropriate for handling major transformations, Lewin’s approach is simpler and more successful for minor adjustments. 

In change management, each model has a role. To effectively walk the road of change, people and organisations must recognise and appreciate their differences and commonalities. These models provide valuable tools and insights to help you successfully negotiate the rugged terrain of change management, whether leading an organisational transition or participating in change management training. 

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