In this paper, Pettigrew, Ferlie and McKee's concepts of receptive and non receptive contexts for change are examined using data from an evaluation study of a general medical practice implementing a Personal Medical Services Pilot between 1998 and 2001. Four questions concerning the applicability, associatedness, temporality and dynamism of the eight factors Pettigrew et al. identified as constitutive of receptivity are used in the analysis, which extends the original model through an operationalization yielding 21 ‘focal questions’. Although the process of change at the fieldwork site was stalled, the receptivity model is shown to have been a useful tool in identifying the factors blocking change. The analysis shows that when the eight factors are conceptualized in terms of the strength, direction and continuity of their influence, the receptivity metaphor provides a distinctive tool for the analysis of change. The paper concludes that further refinement of the model could provide a basis for the derivation of change management typologies.