Show Navigation

Resource Library

Learning Together: A model for increasing organizational change capacity for health equity

Cette ressource est également disponible en français.

The practice framework is part of a series of knowledge products to be written to support the Organization Capacity Initiative, which is the second iteration of the NCCDH’s Learning Together series. The first Learning Together series offered resources related to population health status reporting and was released in 2012.

A model for successful organizational change

Based on literature and learning circle discussions, this document identifies four concepts that contribute to successful change initiatives:

  1. What they want to change (content)
  2. How change will be enacted (process)
  3. The internal and external conditions that influence change (context)
  4. How emerging knowledge and opportunities will be built into the organization (learning)

In addition to these four concepts, this document describes other factors that influence organizational change capacity such as flexibility in the organizational structure, if and how staff perceive value in the proposed change and staff commitment to the organization overall.

Organizational strategies

The document conveys that strategies such as incorporating incremental change, collective staff dialogue, clear communication and bringing partners on board will increase the likelihood of success in achieving long-lasting and effective change. Established engagement in organizational learning and process improvement are also named as indicators for greater chances of successfully implementing change.

Factors that can hinder the organizational integration of equity as a priority area for action to successful change efforts are highlighted, including colonial institutional practices and the resulting propensity for decision-makers to limit leadership by people experiencing social and structural disadvantage. These factors can hinder the organizational integration of equity as a priority area for action.

Discussion guide

A discussion guide based on the four concepts that contribute to successful change is included to help organizations explore their readiness to adapt to change and bring equity into their everyday practice.


Use this resource to

  • facilitate a discussion with your team about changes currently happening in your organization and how these influence action on health equity;
  • identify obstacles to successful change for your organization and how these influence action on health equity; and
  • develop a plan to address barriers and enhance supports for key concepts that contribute to successful change.


View other resources from our Organizational Capacity Initiative


Related resources

Health equity learning pathway for public health middle managers (2020)

Public Health Speaks: Organizational standards as a promising practice for health equity (2013)

Webinar recording: Increasing the success of health equity change initiatives: Organizational enablers and barriers (2019)

Webinar recording: Governance and decision-making for health equity (2019)


National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2020). A Model for Increasing Organizational Change Capacity for Health Equity. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.

Tags: Competencies & organizational standards, Leadership & capacity building, Methods & tools, Organizational capacity, Racism/racialization, Document, Report / Document, Learning Together