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Once people understand the Prosci ADKAR® Model, they tend to fall in love. They shamelessly wear ADKAR glasses at conferences and start using ‘ADKAR’ as a verb (e.g., “I just ‘ADKAR-ed’ that senior leader big time!”). And I’ve had more than one person threaten to get an ADKAR tattoo. Why are people so fanatical about the ADKAR Model? We set out to answer this question and understand how change professionals are using it in new and unique ways, in the Applications of ADKAR research study. 

In the past 15 years, the ADKAR Model has become one of the most prevalent change models in the world, with private- and public-sector organizations finding value in its simplicity and effectiveness. While the model’s original intention was to articulate individual change milestones, over the years change practitioners have found new, creative ways to leverage it to drive change in their organizations.

Prosci endeavored to understand these new uses, their effectiveness and best practices through the Applications of ADKAR research study. Over 400 change professionals responded, giving new insight into how to effectively expand the use of the ADKAR ModelBelow is an infographic outlining all seven uses we identified, with prevalence among participants and the overall effectiveness reported:

ADKAR Model Infographic

Why most people use the ADKAR Model

We first asked research participants why they use the ADKAR Model at all. It’s a basic question that resulted in two compelling themes:

First, people said that they used the ADKAR Model because it provides a structured approach to change. Rather than a list of concepts or a broad theory about change, the ADKAR Model is a practical structure for how to talk about change and how to move someone through change, and it provides a framework for change management.

The other most common response was that the ADKAR Model is easy to use. Because the ADKAR Model distills change into the most basic, yet critical, elements, it is simple enough for anyone to understand and apply without forsaking efficacy. You don't have to be a change professional to understand and be able to apply the ADKAR Model (though many change professionals rely on it heavily for their more sophisticated work).

Emerging uses of the ADKAR Model

We also asked participants how they use the ADKAR Model, ultimately identifying seven possible uses. The most prevalent use of the model was to “leverage a structured approach and methodology,” and the least common use was to “equip senior leaders.” The overall effectiveness of each use, however, was extremely high regardless of the prevalence of that use.

For each use, we asked participants to describe why they used the ADKAR Model in that specific way, how they applied it in that way, best practices for that specific application, and what results they experienced. The result of these questions is a robust account for why and how to apply the ADKAR Model in seven unique ways, and an articulation of the results and benefits you might see if you do as well.

Expand your use of the ADKAR Model

Whether you’re already a die-hard fan of the ADKAR Model or you’re just learning about it, this new research will help you improve your current use of the model and identify new uses for your organization. Download all seven free research deep-dives by clicking the image below.

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Written by
Susie Taylor
Susie Taylor

Susie Taylor is a passionate advocate of personal and organizational change. As a Change Advisor for Prosci, she partners with organizations to implement change management strategies that drive adoption and results while fostering a positive employee experience. She has a master's degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she has also served as an instructor.