CIMA E2: Managing Change

Syllabus area D of the CIMA E2 paper revolves around managing change through projects. It’s covers 30% of the paper so you need to know enough detail to be able pass the E2 objective test.

CIMA E2 Resources

Lewins 3 step model of change

Our good friend Lewin is back with another model, this time it’s his theory on the 3 step approach to successful change management.


The first is based around unfreezing the current behaviour in the work place so when the change happens, it will be a smooth transition and successful project.

It also gets staff ready and motivated for the change, thus is crucial as if the staff do not buy in to the proposed changes, then chances are it will fail.

You need to remember the 3 C’s here.

Consultation: here management would actively involve their staff and get ideas from them on how to implement the change. Therefore, effectively getting everyone on board for the change.

Communication: the reasons why the change is happening needs to be communicated properly to all staff. Otherwise, morale will suffer and the execution of the change will not happen smoothly if no one understands why this is happening?

Counseling: finally, in the unfreeze stage, management need to deal with the issues raised from the staff about the proposed changes. Making sure people’s grievances are dealt with. The benefits of the change may need to be communicated again so everyone is happy with the direction that will be taken.


This is when the change is actually happening and can be done in various forms – Lewin suggests change should be facilitated through;

Project Management: this will ensure the whole change process is managed effectively and the end targets are met.

Change Agents: these are specific people who are brought into the process to gain peoples buy in and they are responsible for the making the change successful.

New Procedures and Rules: once the change has taken place, the new procedures are rules will need to established and effectively communicated to the rest of the staff to ensure the change implemented will work long-term and staff are comfortable with the new rules.


Once the new behaviours and approaches have been implemented, we then enter the RE-FREEZE stage. It’s key that staff and management do not fall back into the old ways, so the new approach must be “re-frozen” into the company culture and way of doing things.

This is usually done by:

Individual Rewards: by rewarding employees who are following the new changes, this will encourage others to follow suit and ensure the change implemented is successful.

Disciplinary: likewise, for those members of staff who are not following the way of working, they should be disciplined for failure of adopting the change.

Communication: this is key in all areas of the change management process and it also shouldn’t be forgotten in the final stage. By communicating the benefits of the change again, this will re-inforce the idea the change will benefit all involved.

Kotter’s 8 Step Change Process

Another model that could be tested in the CIMA E2 exam is Kotter’s 8 Steps in the Change Process. It maybe a challenge to memorise all of the models and theories that are in the E2 syllabus but you should approach them in a pragmatic.

For example: Kotters 8 Step Change Process and Lewin’s 3 Step Model of Change are on the same topic so you can relate them both together to get a better understanding.

This of Lewin’s 3 steps as a high level view of what Kotter is saying with his 8 step change process. The diagram at the bottom of the article illustrates the point I am trying to make. But first, let’s look at the 8 steps that Kotter is talking about.

  • Establish a sense of urgency.
  • Create a guiding coalition.
  • Develop a change vision and strategy.
  • Communicate the vision and strategy.
  • Empower staff and remove any barriers.
  • Short-term wins.
  • Consolidate the gains.
  • Anchor in the culture.

By understanding the 8 steps in the order Kotter has mentioned above you can see they all fall into the same three categories Lewis mentioned: Un-Freeze, Move and Re-Freeze.

CIMA E2 Exam Tips

Lewin’s theory is illustrated with the 3 arrows on the left hand side of the above image, while Kotter’s 8 steps in the change process are illustrated by the text next to each arrow.

I got this idea to combine the two theories when watching the CIMA E2 astranti master class – having this additional resource works well for me as I am self studying the whole syllabus – so tutor advice is always welcome! So these masterclasses have been invaluable to me.

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