SCARF Model: Anticipating Organization Stress

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The third in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

Have you ever felt that your life was in immediate danger? You might remember feeling a burst of adrenaline as your heart race, and you moved into action or froze in your tracks.

SCARF Model snippet

Research shows that other situations, in which there is no physical danger, can trigger a similar response. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response decreases the ability to plan, make rational decisions, and perceive subtle social and cognitive signals. Unfortunately, these skills are needed during organizational change—just when people are likely to be triggered.

To avoid stress reactions from interfering with your next organization change, pay attention to the five areas of threat identified by David Rock, which spell the acronym SCARF:

  • Status
  • Certainty
  • Autonomy
  • Relatedness
  • Fairness

If you know how people are likely to be triggered, you can anticipate by putting measures in place to prevent disruptive responses. Learn about the SCARF Model and how it can help with your next change initiative.

Download the SCARF Model here.

SCARF Model Infographic

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