The Kübler-Ross Model

The Kübler-Ross Model

When I studied organisational design and change management, I was introduced to the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle. It describes “5 stages of grief” that are supposed to occur when someone experiences an intense shock such as death, restructuring or redundancy. The person will enter a stage of denial, become angry, reach a low point of depression and then begin to recover by bargaining before finally accepting their new normal. If the depression isn’t dealt with, they’ll enter a crisis and may never recover.

This model is fraught with difficulties. It lacks empirical evidence to support it and is, frankly, more pop-psychology than serious science. That said, for managers who are struggling to cope with the daily rigours of business and lack a formal training in psychology it is a useful shorthand. As one of my instructors pointed out: you’re a manager, not a therapist.

Like any model approach it with caution. It’s there to help guide and structure rather than follow religiously (looking at you, Myers-Briggs fans). 

About Ross A Hall

Business researcher and writer. I help people form and deliver competitive strategies.

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