The Change Monitor is a way to support organizations in bringing about the change they desire. To ensure that the change takes place as effectively as possible, we are continually investing in research. That helps us develop new insights and keep our knowledge up to date. Our 15 scientific publications give an idea of how much research has already taken place. We are using the results of those studies in our current practice.

The Change Monitor’s link with research is inherent in the background of the instrument itself, which was developed as part of a university research program in 1996. Since then, fundamental questions relating to the Change Monitor have been dealt with in two PhD research projects, and a wealth of reference material has been gathered in the meantime. The most important aim of our current research is to find out how we can maximize the effect for our clients.

Current research

The Dutch Change Monitor Network and the International Change Monitor Network are currently conducting a study together. Our partners are:

The primary research track in that study is focusing on how the Change Monitor helps organizations in learning to change. We are also hoping to establish how the intervention affects the course of change processes. An important question in that connection is whether or not we can determine exactly how the Change Monitor influences whether or not an organization will attain the desired result of the change. Finally, we want to be able to identify what the contribution is of both the certified senior consultant and the chosen means of support.

A second track of the research aims at further developing both the survey and the (international) use of the intervention. By gaining more insight in this area and sharing that with the certified senior consultants, we can ensure that our clients will always receive state-of-the-art facilitation.

A third track of the research on the Change Monitor aims at the development of a broader portfolio of research-based surveys and interventions. The TeamMonitor was developed in collaboration with the Dutch Change Monitor Network, for example. For this research track, we are collaborating closely the MonitorGroup, which is made up of specialists in HR research and organizational research and is our permanent partner for data analysis and reporting.


The Change Monitor is a spin-off from a research program at the University of Amsterdam. That program was launched in 1996, under the leadership of Prof. Jaap Boonstra. A central issue in the study is why most change processes in organizations fail, do not achieve the desired results, or are broken off prematurely. PhD students have studied potential obstacles to and success factors for change and the extent to which those occur in actual practice.

One of the insights from the research program has been that simple explanations for the failure of changes are usually insufficient. Problems can seldom be attributed solely to the structure or culture of an organization. Nor does it suffice to look for the reason solely in organizational characteristics. Problems quite often stem from the approach taken to the changes and the way the process is given form. Over the course of the change process, issues come to the surface that could not have been predicted in advance. That is why it is so important to monitor that process.

The survey that constitutes part of the Change Monitor is suited for monitoring an ongoing change. Simply measuring the current situation is not enough, however. Knowing which things are going well and which are not is interesting for research, but the important question in terms of your actual practice is what do you need to do once you know those things. By treating the results as something to be learned from, rather than merely as measurement data, you will be able to identify opportunities for improvement.

The Change Monitor has been used to help organizations since 1998. It is based on the survey-feedback method. Various applications have shown that discussing the results with everyone concerned leads to a relevant and meaningful interaction about the situation in an organization that is undergoing changes. In this type of interaction people learn from each other about how they experience the changes, which problems they see, and the opportunities for improvement. Involving the entire organization in that process strengthens the base of support and commitment. That is often imperative for successful change. In most changes, after all, the management and consultants play a central role. Still, a joint effort by people in the organization is required for the realization of those changes.

PhD dissertations

It was Dr Kilian Bennebroek Gravenhorst’s PhD research that led to the creation of the Change Monitor. The first track in that study dealt with the obstacles and success factors in complex changes. Kilian brought together numerous theoretical but incomplete explanations for the success and failure of change processes. His integration of those organizational and process-based factors led to a new and more complete view of what makes change so complicated. One of the more interesting findings of his research was that while horizontal and vertical collaboration is difficult during changes, such collaboration is nevertheless essential for success. The second track in Kilian’s PhD research focused on the development of the Change Monitor as an intervention. He identified what it takes to involve all relevant parties in a dialogue about the quality of the change process. Besides the theoretical discussion and the methodological development, the dissertation also contains six in-depth case studies. The commercial edition of the study is a useful tool for all professionals who work with surveys in organizations.

Convincing Cases of Collaboration: Survey Feedback for Dealing with Obstacles in Organizational Change (PhD disseration)
Shaping a learning process and realizing change: Reflection, interaction and cooperation through survey feedback (article)

Renate Werkman’s PhD dissertation further deepened and broadened the research program. The first track of her study dealt with why changes often proceed with such difficulty and showed what change managers can to do to achieve success. Renate also showed how the interaction patterns within seven organizations formed an obstacle to change and how the Change Monitor helped identify and break such patterns. The second track of her dissertation substantially broadened the methodological perspective by adding the theme of change strategies. It also described insights from the application of the Change Monitor in over 400 organizations. Those organizations were divided into five different categories representing the characteristic patterns with which organizations approach changes and the success they have in that regard. These five configurations – ‘innovative’, ‘political’, ‘ambiguous’, ‘skeptical’ and ‘cynical’ – serve as reference material in our current practice with the Change Monitor.

Worlds of Difference (PhD dissertation)
Understanding failure to change: A pluralistic approach and five patterns (article)

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