top of page
< Back

Four Rooms of Change

Don’t love itNot greatGoodGreatLove it
average rating is null out of 5, based on 0 votes, Ratings

Navigating Spaces: Understanding the Four Rooms of Change

In the realm of change management, the Four Rooms of Change stands out as a profound and practical model. Developed by Claes Janssen during the late 20th century, this tool offers a nuanced perspective on the emotional and psychological states individuals and organizations experience during change. As the world continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, understanding the dynamics of these "rooms" becomes paramount. The model serves as both a mirror and a guide, reflecting our current states and pointing towards potential paths of transition.

Join us on this immersive exploration of the Four Rooms of Change, delving into its origins, principles, and transformative potential for individuals and organizations alike.


Embracing the Four Rooms of Change offers a myriad of insights:

  • Self-awareness: Enhances understanding of one's emotional state during transitions.

  • Organizational Insight: Helps organizations identify collective feelings and reactions to change.

  • Facilitates Transition: Provides a roadmap for navigating change effectively.

  • Improves Communication: Encourages open discussions about feelings and experiences during change.

  • Enhances Adaptability: Equips individuals and organizations to adapt swiftly to evolving scenarios.

When to use

The Four Rooms of Change is particularly beneficial:

  1. Personal Transitions: During major life changes to understand and navigate emotional states.

  2. Organizational Changes: When introducing new policies, structures, or strategies.

  3. Team Dynamics: To gauge team sentiment during project shifts or restructuring.

  4. Crisis Management: To assess emotional states during crises and guide responses.

  5. Feedback and Reflection: As a reflective tool during feedback sessions or retrospectives.

OD Application

The Four Rooms of Change Framework: Sculpting Pathways to Well-being and Prosperity in Organizations

In the sprawling metropolis of change management theories, the Four Rooms of Change framework, conceived by Claes Janssen, stands as a beacon, brilliantly mapping out the psychological transitions individuals and organizations experience during change. Divided into four quadrants - Contentment, Denial, Confusion, and Renewal - this framework provides a vivid portrayal of the emotional landscapes encountered during transformative journeys. As we traverse the intricate pathways of the Four Rooms of Change, we'll unravel its immense potential to fortify organizational "Well-being" and propel "Prosperity."

Cultivating Organizational Well-being with the Four Rooms of Change Framework

Crafting a Culture of Emotional Resonance:At the heart of the Four Rooms of Change lies a profound understanding of the emotional pulses that underpin change. By recognizing and valuing these emotional responses, organizations foster a culture of empathy, ensuring individuals feel seen, heard, and supported during transitional phases.

Social Psychology and the Dynamics of Change:The Four Rooms of Change framework echoes the principles of social psychology, spotlighting the intricate dance of individual emotions and collective sentiment during change. By acknowledging these dynamics, organizations can craft interventions that resonate with the collective psyche, promoting holistic well-being.

Empowerment Through Emotional Mastery:Equipped with the insights from the Four Rooms of Change, individuals are empowered to navigate their emotional journeys with heightened self-awareness. This emotional mastery ensures individuals not only survive change but thrive amidst it.

Nurturing Organizational Prosperity with the Four Rooms of Change Framework

Strategic Agility Amidst Emotional Landscapes:Change, while inevitable, is fraught with emotional upheavals. The Four Rooms of Change offers organizations a compass to navigate these emotional terrains, ensuring strategic initiatives are agile, empathetic, and resilient.

Operational Excellence through Emotional Alignment:By recognizing the emotional responses associated with each room and crafting interventions that resonate with them, the Four Rooms of Change paves the way for operational cohesion. This alignment reduces resistance, fosters collaboration, and ensures smooth execution of change initiatives.

Sustained Growth through Emotionally Adaptive Organizations:The Four Rooms of Change, with its emphasis on emotional resonance, ensures organizations are poised for sustained growth, adeptly navigating the emotional mazes that accompany change.

Discerning the Alignment: Is the Four Rooms of Change the Right Beacon?

While the Four Rooms of Change framework offers a profound understanding of the emotional dynamics of change, its alignment with an organization's unique challenges, culture, and aspirations is paramount. Here's where the framework proves invaluable:

  • Major Organizational Shifts: For organizations undergoing significant transformations, the Four Rooms of Change offers a structured lens to understand and navigate the emotional landscapes.

  • Mergers and Acquisitions: In scenarios characterized by mergers or acquisitions, where cultures and identities meld, understanding the emotional dynamics becomes pivotal. The Four Rooms of Change provides invaluable insights for these transitions.

  • Leadership Changes: As organizations experience leadership transitions, the emotional pulse of the organization can shift dramatically. The framework offers a roadmap to understand and navigate these emotional shifts.

However, for minor changes or scenarios where the emotional dynamics are straightforward and predictable, the depth of the Four Rooms of Change might be superfluous.

Tailoring and Harnessing the Four Rooms of Change Framework

To truly harness the transformative essence of the Four Rooms of Change, it requires meticulous tailoring and adept navigation. A roadmap for OD consultants:

  • Engaging Introduction: Begin by illuminating the core tenets of the Four Rooms of Change, emphasizing its significance in understanding the emotional dynamics of change.

  • Facilitate Emotionally Resonant Workshops: Organize workshops where individuals and teams can delve into their emotional responses, ensuring collective understanding and alignment.

  • Continuous Monitoring and Emotional Support: Offer unwavering emotional support, emphasizing the importance of recognizing emotional shifts and providing tools to navigate each room effectively.

  • Feedback Mechanisms: Establish channels for emotional feedback, enabling individuals to share their feelings, challenges, and insights related to their change journey.

Sensing the Transformation: The Four Rooms of Change in Action

The transformative resonance of the Four Rooms of Change, when deeply integrated into an organization's change management fabric, can be palpably sensed across various levels:

  • Individual Level: Enhanced emotional self-awareness, a deep sense of validation, and enriched resilience amidst change.

  • Team Level: Collaborative emotional dynamics, mutual understanding of each member's emotional journey, and a collective commitment to navigate change harmoniously.

  • Organizational Level: Strategic agility stemming from emotional resonance, operational excellence emanating from emotional alignment, and a culture rooted in emotional mastery during change.

The Four Rooms of Change framework, with its profound insights into the emotional rhythms of change, offers organizations a structured compass to navigate the tumultuous seas of transformation. Championing the cause of empathy, emotional mastery, and resilience, this framework emerges as a guiding lighthouse for organizations at the crossroads of well-being and prosperity. As these entities embark on their transformative odysseys, the Four Rooms of Change illuminates their pathways, guiding them towards emotionally resonant decisions, harmonious journeys, and a prosperous future.


Healthcare: Implementing a New System

A hospital, transitioning to a digital patient management system, utilized the Four Rooms of Change. By understanding where staff resided emotionally, they facilitated smoother transitions and addressed concerns effectively.

Outcome: Enhanced system adoption, reduced resistance, and improved patient care.

Technology: Merging Development Teams

A tech company merged two teams with distinct cultures. Using the Four Rooms of Change, they gauged team sentiments, addressed concerns, and facilitated a harmonious merger.

Outcome: Successful team integration, reduced conflicts, and enhanced collaboration.

Non-Profit: Introducing a New Mission

A non-profit organization revised its core mission. Leveraging the Four Rooms of Change, they engaged stakeholders, gauged sentiments, and guided the organization through the emotional journey of change.

Outcome: Effective mission transition, stakeholder alignment, and renewed organizational focus.

Facilitator Notes

How to Introduce the Four Rooms of Change

Begin by emphasizing the emotional roller-coaster associated with change. Introduce the Four Rooms of Change as a tool that captures these emotional states, offering insights and guidance.

Sample Introduction Script

"Change, whether personal or organizational, brings a whirlwind of emotions. The Four Rooms of Change offers a window into these emotional states, guiding us through the maze of feelings and facilitating smoother transitions."

Helpful Facilitator Questions

  1. Which "room" do you currently resonate with and why?

  2. How can understanding your current "room" aid in navigating change effectively?

  3. Can you recall a past experience where recognizing these "rooms" could have been beneficial?

  4. How do external factors, like societal changes or global events, influence transitions between these "rooms"?

  5. How do the Four Rooms of Change align with other change management models or strategies you're familiar with?

Rooms of Reflection: Embracing Change's Emotional Spectrum

The Four Rooms of Change, with its keen insights into the emotional states during transitions, offers a beacon for individuals and organizations. By recognizing these states, we can better navigate change, address challenges, and harness the potential that new beginnings offer.

Success Indicators: Mastery of Emotional Transitions

Successful adoption of the Four Rooms of Change is reflected when:

  1. Emotional Awareness: Individuals recognize and understand their current emotional state.

  2. Enhanced Communication: Open dialogues about feelings and experiences during change become the norm.

  3. Swift Adaptation: Organizations transition through the "rooms" effectively, minimizing resistance.

  4. Stakeholder Engagement: All stakeholders are engaged and aligned during change initiatives.

  5. Reflective Practices: The model is used as a reflective tool, fostering continuous growth and learning.

Deep Dive

Related Theories

Kübler-Ross Change Curve (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross) Field: Psychiatry

Explores the five stages of grief, which has been adapted to understand reactions to change. Complements the insights of the Four Rooms of Change by delving into emotional transitions.

Lewin's Change Management Model (Kurt Lewin) Field: Social Psychology

Describes the three stages of change – unfreezing, change, and refreezing. Aligns with the Four Rooms of Change by providing a broader view of organizational change.

ADKAR Model (Jeff Hiatt) Field: Change Management

A step-by-step approach to change, focusing on Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. Offers a structured perspective that can be used in tandem with the Four Rooms of Change.


  1. How has the Four Rooms of Change reshaped your understanding of emotional transitions during change?

  2. Are there scenarios where you felt trapped in a particular "room"? How did you navigate out of it?

  3. How can organizations ensure they don't get stuck in the "Room of Confusion" during major transitions?

  4. In what ways can the Four Rooms of Change be enhanced or adapted for specific scenarios or cultures?

  5. How does the framework resonate with other emotional or change models you've encountered?


Here are five highly relevant, intellectually stimulating, and practical research questions:

  1. How can the Four Rooms of Change be integrated with modern technological tools to gauge organizational sentiment during change?

  2. What are the cultural implications of the Four Rooms of Change in diverse settings?

  3. How does the model adapt to personal life changes versus organizational transitions?

  4. What role does leadership play in guiding organizations through the Four Rooms effectively?

  5. How can the framework be complemented with other change management models to offer a holistic approach?


  1. "The Change Monster: The Human Forces that Fuel or Foil Corporate Transformation and Change" by Jeanie Daniel Duck A deep dive into the emotional and psychological aspects of change, offering insights that resonate with the Four Rooms of Change.

  2. "Leading Change" by John P. Kotter Explores the process of leading organizational change, aligning with the principles of the Four Rooms of Change.

  3. "Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes" by William Bridges Provides insights into personal transitions, complementing the principles of the Four Rooms of Change.


The Four Rooms of Change, with its intuitive categorization of emotional states during transitions, stands as a guiding light for individuals and organizations. By embracing its insights, we can navigate the complexities of change with understanding, empathy, and resilience. Embark on your journey of change with the Four Rooms as your compass, ensuring every transition is recognized, understood, and embraced.

bottom of page