The Change Model Formula (also: Change Formula, Change Equation) of Beckhard and 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.
Historically, the change quotation can be seen as a major milestone for the field of Organizational Development. Organizational Development has expanded gradually over time, in response to the needs of employers who not only want to move their organizations forward in terms of business objectives, but also in terms of employee engagement, as today’s employers now understand the connection between employee involvement and organizational success.
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, 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.
The Change Model Formula (Change Equation) is:
D x V x F > R
Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps > Resistance to Change
It is important to note that the three components must all be present to overcome the v in an organization: Dissatisfaction with the present situation, a 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.