Color Test for Change Agents

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Color Test for Change Agents

Color Test for Change Agents

Change is one of the most inevitable things in the world. It occurs every day in various aspects. There are millions of opinions about the process of change in the world. Leon de Caluwe and Hans Vermaak came up with a model to explain five distinct methods of thinking on change in an organization. Each way is a representation of a different belief system and personal convictions about change, effective change processes, how people change, how to change people and how to implement change. This paper describes the color test for change agents results and the implications of color preferences in organizational change (Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols, 2015).

The color test for change agents is an experiment which aims to determine personal inclinations towards change. According to Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols (2017), it explains how a person is likely to act during the process of change. There are five paradigms of change each of which is represented by a distinct color. The decision of a change agent depends on their inclination in decision making. Agents in this case include people in various influential positions who bring about change. Change agents may be accountants, managers, chief executive officers, directors, secretaries, teachers, lawyers, engineers and decision-making people from various fields. Color test for change is useful for every decision maker and every person. All people must make decisions all times. Decision-makers in various organizations, make decisions which affect many people. They need to know how they think about change.

Different color labels are used to describe different kinds of thinking. The five colors used are yellow, white, green, blue and red. Various families of change theories explain the thoughts. Since organizational change is a collective process, it requires constant communication and cooperation amongst stakeholders. The color model provides a framework or model through which language and discussions about change in an organization can take place (Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols, 2015). The five color prints are communication diagnostic tools from which change strategies can be derived. The next section explains what various colors represent.

Blue-print thinking is denoted by the blue color. It represents agents who think rationally, when designing and implementing changes. Agents in this label rely on empirical investigations. They use concrete evidence in projecting outcomes of the changes they envision. They plan the change and manage it until it is achieved. According to blue-print thinking, planning is important in achieving pre-determined outcomes. Agents use project management as one of the tools of implementing blue-print thinking. The main actors in blue-print thinking are change managers, change definers and, project managers. Blue-print thinking is the most dominant paradigm (Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols, 2017).

Yellow-print thinking derives its view of organizational change from socio-political ideas about organizations. According to this school of thought, people make decisions based on their interests and conflicts. They make decisions which are most likely to give them more power and leave them more powerful. Change is a result of coalitions with powerful people in making decisions. The school of thought takes the assumption that people change their minds and make decisions depending on their interests. People can accept certain ideas if their interests are at stake. People use yellow-print thinking model in forming coalitions and power blocks by combining ideas. From their perspective, they view change as a negotiation exercise which brings about feasible solutions to change agents (Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols, 2017).

Red-print thinking emphasizes on the role of motivation in bringing change. According to the red-print school of thought, when people are stimulated, they change their behaviors and they are more likely to make decisions based on the new behavior. The most common interventions used to cause behavioral changes include rewards, incentives, promotions or the strengthening of team spirit amidst decision-makers. Researchers (Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols, 2017) believe that the decisions of agents may change due to behavioral changes brought about by motivation. The red-print thinking in its absolute sense resembles barter trade in which one gives something in return of another. In this sense, organizations provide rewards hoping to woe workers into certain decisions like hard work and higher productivity. Many human resource systems use the red-print thinking technique. Other motivational approaches used by organizations include people development, recognition of achievements, strengthening of teams, enticement, gifts and giving them hope about future opportunities. This type of change is centered on the level of attention given to people.

Green-print thinking is based on action learning organizational development. It ensures that people learn and then make decisions based on their knowledge. Change agents take their time to help other workers in an organization to discover their potential and become more effective. In order to implement green-print thinking, change agents create learning environments in which they train other people, get feedback and experiment in teams. Green-print thinking leads to rapid changes in an organization with the trainees becoming decision makers according to what they learn in action (Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols, 2017).

According to white-print thinking theory, change is a continuous and pervasive process which can be achieves quickly by change agents. The work of change agents is to determine suggestions and use the support of opportunistic workers in achieving the change they want. They also help by removing obstacles on the way to success. White-print thinking is a reaction to the change envisioned by the four colors. In white-print thinking, everything occurs independently without undue pressure or motivation from the stakeholders. The actions of the change agents only speed up the change by giving it an extra push. White-print thinkers work hard to find opportunities, to support those who grasp the opportunities and remove obstacles in their path (Cawsey, Deszca & Ingols, 2017).

As a change agent, I believe that I am in the green-print way of thinking. I believe that all things are possible through growth and development through learning. If people are given the opportunities to develop, they can grow to unimaginable heights. The Bible records in the book of Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Getting the motivation from the bible, people can learn and know anything they want to. They can bring about changes, revolutions, discoveries, innovations and many things that they wish to achieve. However, it should be clear that there are times and seasons for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1) (Robert, 2009). People should be trained on how to become leaders while they are young. The bible also states that when children are old, they will depart from what they were taught while they were young (Proverbs 22:6). Knowledge helps people to reflect and share what they know with other people thereby creating change (Robert, 2009).

The color model is a transparent lens which assesses the background, ability, intelligence, portfolio, credibility and decision making skills of change agents. The colors point out the belief system of people and the assumptions they deeply hold in their minds concerning change. It is important to note that change agents may make decisions without consciously knowing their motivation. The human belief system can compel people to make decisions based on certain preferences and what they perceive to be advantageous. The belief system also causes people to like certain colors while hating other colors in the color spectrum. It is important to know what one believes in in order to improve on opportunities and make the right choices.




Cawsey, T., Deszca, G., & Ingols, C. (2015). Organizational Change (3rd Ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Cawsey, T., Deszca, G., & Ingols, C. (2017). Organizational Change: An Action-Oriented Toolkit | SAGE Companion. Retrieved 1 November 2017, from

Robert, A. C. (2009). The King James 2000 Version. Chicago: The Bible League International.

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