Change Management In Environmental Nonprofits

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Nikoi Kote-Nikoi


The environmental movement is in a constant state of flux. In order to stay relevant, the movement needs to change and adapt to economic, social, and political fluctuations. Environmental organizations, a big part of the movement, respond to change with various degrees of success. The observations of the internal processes that either successfully take the organization to a new level, or prevent the change from happening have influenced this study to a great extent.

The primary focus of this study is the internal change management that environmental groups conduct in order to be relevant and effective in the fast paced environment while keeping their staff inspired and motivated. Using a qualitative research study approach, the primary data was collected through nine in-depth interviews with the DC environmental workers, following by the survey of twenty nine DC environmental workers. Due to its political status Washington, DC has an extensive network of environmental organizations. The theoretical framework behind the research is supported by a variety of organizational change and motivational theories. Kurt Lewin’s 3-Step Model (steps being unfreezing, refreezing, moving) of organizational change serves as a primary point of reference during the data analysis.

The 3-Step Model emphasizes the importance of refreezing once the change has been implemented. The research shows an evident gap in implementing and testing the organizational change. Environmental organizations in DC practice the first two stages with relative success, but are often unable to move to the third stage. The findings identify the importance of participatory decision making and effective communication as key factors in planning, testing, and implementing of all aspects of the transition from one organizational structure or process to another.


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Sustainability

This document is currently not available here.