Climate change is making us re-think the way we work in organisations.


The issue of climate change and global warming has surfaced as a result of an increase in global temperature in the long term which causes a shift in weather patterns as well as increases sea levels(UN, 2020).

The increasing carbon footprint of the human civilization as well as greenhouse gas emissions as a result of industrialisation as well as large scale agriculture and deforestation has resulted in a cumulative increasing the levels of greenhouse gas in the earth’s atmosphere thereby causing climate change(Nationalgeographic, 2018).

This has resulted in organisations to modify the process of working as well as other aspects of operations as a countermeasure to reduce the negative effects of climate change. This essay provides an account of the manner in which climate change has influenced the organisations to rethink the process of working. The essay discusses how climate change as changingthe way of work in organisations with the help of models and theories of organisational change.


Climate change and organisational work

The activities of the human civilization have resulted in the increased production of greenhouse gases and its subsequent accumulation in the earth’s atmosphere which prevents it from releasing exercise heat and sunlight back into space thereby causing an increase in overall temperature and global warming(NASA, 2020).

The effects of climate change span from droughts to increase in instances of wildfires which are witnessed in the Amazon forest as well as in Australia in addition to the continual rise in global temperatures(Nationalgeographic, 2017).

This is the reason due to which the organisations across the world and the MNC’shave undertaken to focus on sustainability of their operations as a CSR initiative to reduce their carbon footprint on the environment and combat climate change in the process.

The effects of climate change also span through the process of working for the employees in organisations as well as their carer(Owusu & Asumadu-Sarkodie, 2016).

The organisations have shifter their business processes towards more sustainable processes with a lesser impact on the environment like using renewable energy sources to power the offices as well as the manufacturing hubs.

The employers across the world are urged to rethink their business processes and activities for safeguarding our future by adopting sustainable practices and reducing carbon and greenhouse emissions(Biesbroek, et al., 2010).

Measures have been taken in the UK to implement a Climate Emergency by the government to make the employers as well as the employees aware of their actions and reduce their contribution to greenhouse emissions(Hrmagazine, 2019).

Walmart is the largest retailer in the world have committed to using renewable energy in all their outlets whereas Starbucks being the leading coffee chain has vowed to reduce waste by recycling straws and cups.

Lewin’s change management model

Kurt Lewin has developed a change model that includes three prominent steps that include unfreezing, changing and refreezing. Through this process, it helps the organisation in understanding the change that becomes essential for the business organisation(Hussain, et al., 2018).


Figure 1: Lewin’s change management model. Source:(Ellis & Abbott, 2018).

Unfreezing:The first towards the change management process involves preparing the business establishment in identifying the change that becomes necessary to improve the overall business operations of the management. Strategies incorporating climate change needs to be considered by the organisation that includes of 3R concept(Ellis & Abbott, 2018).

Challenges related to global warming make it difficult for the organisation in maintaining sustainability within the establishment. Therefore, during the unfreezing stage, it becomes essential for the management to introduce a 3R concept that includes reducing, reuse and recycle.

Change:During the second stage of Lewin’s change model it becomes necessary for the organisation to support the change that has been introduced within the management including the 3R concept. Business venture motivates the employees within the organisation in eliminating the usage of plastic resources, moreover, the steps are also being taken towards eliminating the growing carbon emission.

Fostering change within the organisation helps the firm in achieving the tag of sustainable business organisation(Tang, 2019).Change is also being implemented within the organisation in the form of using eco-friendly technology that consumes less electricity along with less emits less harmful gas that impacts negatively on the organisation.

Refreeze:During the third step of Lewin change management, the stage of refreezing motivates the employees in the firm to recycle and reuse the waste that is being generated from the production unit of the organisation.

Furthermore, it has also been noticed that the refreezing stage within the organisation also assists in eliminating the risk of climate change and its negative impact within the business establishment(Rosenbaum, et al., 2018).

Therefore, following the change management process within the business organisation helps in inculcating and maintaining sustainability within the organisation by improving their business procedures.

Kotter’s theory

The first step towards implementing the change within the organisation comprises of creating its urgency within the establishment(Rajan & Ganesan, 2017). Climate change within the enterprise decreases the brand status and reputation as a result of which it becomes necessary for the organisation to implement changes within the organisation so that they can comply with environmental standards.

The second step towards the change process is motivating the employees in order to inculcate the change within the business establishment(Wentworth, et al., 2018). Implementing the concept of 3R and other sustainable practices within the organisation motivates the employees in increasing their skill traits in order to foster activities that increase the chances for the organisation in contributing their bit towards environmental sustainability.

The business establishment also needs to inculcate vision with their actions in order to undertake sustainable practices that increase the environmental sustainability within the business organisation. Sustainable packaging and delivery standards are also being carried out in order to maintain environmental standards.

The vision for the organisation is to achieve long term business sustainability that increases the growth opportunities for the organisation. Aligning the vision of best practices with that of the business activities helps the establishment in achieving sustainability within their operations. In order to achieve the goal of introducing change in the organisation to optimise the business processes and maximise resource efficiency, the organisational managers are required to remove the obstacles in the path of combating climate change.

In order to promote healthier choices and work ethics as well as making organisational changes like reduction in usage, reuse and recycling, the staff are required to be told the benefits of the environment, their personal health and cost savings. At this stage, the change in the organisation can be managed by identification of the leaders in the organisation who can lead by example(Rosenbaum, et al., 2018). Rewarding the staff based on their accountability towards sustainable business operations would facilitate seamless change management.

The creation of visible short term winning situations like reduction in electricity bills to be divided as bonuses to the staff as wages would also motivate the staff to embrace the change of using lighting and air-conditioning in the office only when necessary.

The process of change management in the organisations for integrating sustainability as a CSR initiative of fighting the problem of climate change can be resolved by building on the decision of change and making it a continuous event rather than declaring success in the short term by having visible results(Cameron & Green, 2015).

Organisational leaders are required to set continuous goals for the employees as well as the organisational processes for optimisation in continuous manna and achieving improvement everyday by integrating innovation as well as embracing the agents of change.

Change in the organisation should be made persistent as a result of integrating a culture of change in the organisation and creating plans to change the organisational values by training as well as hiring new staff who can lead to change in the organisation.

ADKAR model

Awareness: This is the process within the organisation where it becomes necessary for the establishment in making its employees realize the importance of implementing change within the organisation(Wong, et al., 2019). Climate change brings negative effect that includes lack of cohesiveness in the decision-making process, loss of performance and productivity.

Therefore, to motivate the employees the organisation influences them in undertaking the best sustainable practices within their organisation that include reusing waste and emitting fewer carbon fumes in order to retain sustainability within the business organisation.Hence, awareness among the employees increases their competencies in performing activities that best suit the business environment.

Desire: Once the employees are being motivated towards implementing changes within the organisation, it also becomes important for the management in implementing change within the operations of the functions.

Best practices in the form of energy efficiency, sustainable remediation and integrating reporting are being implemented within the organisation in order to comply with the environmental regulation standards so that sustainability within the business venture can be maintained. Culminating the changes within the organisation improves the environmental standards while performing their activities.

Knowledge: Before the employees undertake the best practices within the organisation in order to improve climate change. The business organisation arranges for training and workshops for the employees where they are being trained towards identifying the most convenient and convincing method through which they can perform the activities that are being assigned to them(Galli, 2018).

Moreover,  building knowledge and skill traits among the employees manages the business organisation in sustaining the environmental sustainability within their establishment.

Ability: Change management process for the business becomes important because it helps the organisation in implementing and fostering changes within the organisation that increases the performance and productivity within the business establishment(Das, 2019).

Climate changes are one such challenge that changes the business operations of the management, therefore it becomes important for the employees in undertaking both their skills and knowledge so that they can eliminate the challenge of climate change and maintain environmental standards within the organisation.

Reinforcement: This the process within the management where it becomes necessary for the administration to consider new methods that include using more environmentally suitable technologies that harness the best results for the enterprise. Alternative methods towards conserving and preserving the environment benefit the firm in maintaining sustainability within the establishment.

Kubler Ross change curve


Figure 2: Kubler Ross change curve. Source: (Hornstein, 2015).

The integration of organisational change as a result of climate change and inducing sustainability in operations can cause some employees to move away from their existing job roles and alter some choices which can make them uncomfortable(Hornstein, 2015).

For example, the result of the decision to curb emission can cause the discontinuation of personal vehicles for employees for short distance travels and commute to office from nearby railway station through carpooling or bicycles to reduce emissions. Departmental changes can occur to minimise and reduce waste as well as resource consumption.

The change curve provides an overview of the stages of grief of the employees as a result of the change.  In the beginning, the employees remain in a state of denial as a result of the change that has been incorporated wherein the management requires to let the staff know the details of change and necessity of sustainability in advance(Hayes, 2018).

The employees get angry due to the change in habits and initial inconvenience causes followed by initiating bargaining with the authorities as well as the state of change to alter the minimum. The management is required to stay supportive and take feedback in this state. The employees become depressed as a result of being unable to resist change which is followed by acceptance in the final stage after totally understanding the greater good and benefits of change.


Climate change has caused the organisational managers and authorities to rethink their operations to introduce sustainability for creating a better future and abiding by their CSR initiatives to remain competitive.

Linking the sustainable actions of organisational change with the rewards of the employees can help in motivating and encouraging them to adopt change as well as make the employees resisting change understand the necessity of the event.

Examining the Lewin change management model it has been noticed that there are three crucial processes that include unfreezing, change and refreeze where the initial process for the management needs to identify the changes that become essential to culminate changes within the organisation.

The skills and traits of the employees also are being improved so that they can undertake best practices that benefit the firm in maintaining environmental sustainability within the business organisation. Adkar model has also been examined in order to identify the changes and the steps that become necessary for the enterprise to carry out the best practices of climate change within the organisation.


Biesbroek, G. et al., 2010. Europe adapts to climate change: comparing national adaptation strategies. Global environmental change, 20(3), pp. 440-450.

Cameron, E. & Green, M., 2015. Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change. 2nd ed. London: Kogan Page Publishers.

Das, V., 2019. Comparative Study of Kotter’s and Hiatt’s (ADKAR) Change Models. Journal of Leadership and Management, 1(15), p. 10.

Ellis, P. & Abbott, J., 2018. Applying Lewin’s change model in the kidney care unit: unfreezing, 3(4), pp. 259-261.

Galli, B., 2018. IEEE Engineering Management Review. Change management models: A comparative analysis and concerns, 46(3), pp. 124-132.

Hayes, J., 2018. The theory and practice of change management. 3 ed. London: Routeledge.

Hornstein, H., 2015. The integration of project management and organizational change management is now a necessity. International Journal of Project Management, 33(2), pp. 291-298.

Hrmagazine, 2019. Tackling our climate emergency: HR’s role. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 Feb 2020].

Hussain, S. et al., 2018. Kurt Lewin’s change model: A critical review of the role of leadership and employee involvement in organizational change. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 3(3), pp. 123-127.

Kotter, J., 2012. Leading Change. 2nd ed. London: Harvard Business Review Press.

Millner, A. & Dietz, S., 2015. Adaptation to climate change and economic growth in developing countries. Environment and Development Economics, 20(3), pp. 380-406.

NASA, 2020. The Effects of Climate Change. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 Feb 2020].

Nationalgeographic, 2017. Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions a Year. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 Feb 2020].

Nationalgeographic, 2018. Climate change impacts worse than expected, global report warns. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 Feb 2020].

Owusu, P. & Asumadu-Sarkodie, S., 2016. A review of renewable energy sources, sustainability issues and climate change mitigation. Cogent Engineering, 3(1), p. 1167990.

Rajan, R. & Ganesan, R., 2017. A critical analysis of John P. Kotter’s change management framework. Asian Journal of Research in Business Economics and Management, 7(7), pp. 181-203.

Rosenbaum, D., More, E. & Steane, P., 2018. Planned organisational change management. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 1(1), p. 10.

Rosenbaum, D., More, E. & Steane, P., 2018. Planned organisational change management: Forward to the past? An exploratory literature review. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 31(2), pp. 286-303.

Tang, K., 2019. Change management. In Leadership and Change Management. In: London: Springer, pp. 47-55.

UN, 2020. Climate Change. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 Feb 2020].

Wentworth, D., Behson, S. & Kelley, C., 2018. Studies in Higher Education. Implementing a new student evaluation of teaching system using the Kotter change model, 1(1), pp. 1-13.

Wong, Q. et al., 2019. Nursing management. Leading change with ADKAR, 50(4), pp. 28-35.





Leave a Comment