Scott and Jaffe Change Model

This model of change is one of the unique models of change as propounded by Cynthia Scott & Dennis Jaffe in their article ‘Survive and Thrive in Times of Change’. The model derives its inspiration from the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in which she highlighted through her research the ways in which people coped with tragedies, grief or sorrow and based on her investigation she identified five stages of grief: anger, denial, depression, bargaining and acceptance. In a similar manner, Scott and Jaffe described the entire psychological process and how individuals respond to change.

The key highlights of this model havebeen given below:

  • Change occurs over a period of time which is indicated on the horizontal axis from the left to the right. The left side of the horizontal axis focuses on the past while the right side focuses on the future.

  • The vertical axis focuses on the general awareness and suggests that with the passage of time our priorities change from focusing more on the external environment to becoming more introspective and then once again paying importance to the external environment.

  • The U-Shaped curve demonstrates how an individual goes through the psychological processes during a change. The U-shaped curve even indicates the effect of change on individuals in terms of increasing disempowerments or re-empowerment. The left quadrant of the curve indicates an increase in disempowerment and the right quadrant of the curve indicates re-empowerment.

As per Scott and Jaffe, we all transition through 4 stages of change:

Scott and Jaffe Change Model

  1. Denial: This is the stage in which the feeling of change does not easily sink in and we ignore the change completely as if nothing has happened.

  2. Resist: During this stage, we understand that the change has taken place and it cannot be ignored, but the acceptability is resisted. The resistance is usually exhibited through emotional upsurges in the form of anger, frustration, anxiety, fear of the unknown and sometimes voice it out by opposing the change vociferously. It is during this stage when the organization witnesses a loss in productivity as well as the overall stability in the business environment due to this resistance.

  3. Explore: This is the stage of exploration during which the organization builds up its coping or adaptive mechanisms to tackle the resistance, focuses on the futuristic priorities/goals by empowering people and encouraging them for trying out new processes or testing things out gradually. This stage is very sensitive and tentative as for any wrong step taken people may once again revert to the resistance stage of change.

  4. Commit: This is the stage during which the individuals are re-empowered and they accept the new methods or processes. It is very important that commitment towards the change can be established by backing it up with appropriate recognitions and clearly defining the Roles and Accountabilities of the employees.

The model of Change as propounded by Scott and Jaffe is regarded as a predictive model which is far from the reality. But the model can be considered as a vital framework for understanding the process of change and it provides crucial insights on how one can manage change successfully by minimizing the resistance.


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Change Management