Apply Kirkpatrick’s 4 Level Evaluation Program to Organizational Change Initiatives
In TRDV 433 Organization Change, students study various interventions that can improve effectiveness at the individual, team, and organization-wide levels when used correctly. Most change agents agree that selecting the correct intervention is both an art and a science. Since billions of dollars were spent on organizational change initiatives over the last two decades, many in the field believe it is time to emphasize the “science” component to ensure that we can document change in a way that justifies expenditures. One way to evaluate change, particularly from the perspective of the training profession, is to apply Kirkpatrick’s model to the change process.
Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation Model
As depicted below, Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Evaluation Program involves the assessment of four unique dimensions. Therefore, when applied to a change initiative, we can use the model to answer such questions as:
- At level 1, how did members of the organization react to the change? We may expand this question in terms of effects on job satisfaction, intent to leave, relationships with coworkers and leaders, etc.
- At level 2, consider what was learned from the change initiative. More importantly, ask how we can use lessons learned to support the change and build a learning organization.
- At level 3, consider the sustainability of the change effort, measuring its continued effects over time.
- Finally, at level 4, consider the results of the change initiative in measurable terms and based on the original objectives or reasons to initiate change. Did we achieve what we set out to achieve?
Kirkpatrick’s model offers a comprehensive approach to the measurement of change process outcomes. It provides a structure that ensures that change outcomes are evaluated from a multifaceted perspective. Rather than relying only on financial results, applying the four levels leads us to consider how change initiatives affect the individual worker, the learning organization, whether they are sustainable, and ultimately whether they produce the desired outcomes.
Questions for Discussion:
- Why do you think that organizations fail to measure the results of change initiatives accurately?
- What strategies might organizations use to conduct a level 4 evaluation of a change initiative?