Lewin’s Change Model
Organizational change is something that many have found to be complicated and time-consuming since they do not have a clear way of making it happen. There are those who have tried to attempt but failed since they do not have the right mechanism or parameters in that line. Kurt Lewin was a scientist who invented a way in which organizational change could be conducted in only three easy steps. The steps were unfreeze, change and refreeze. In that case, he ensured that all the stages of the process were clear and that one could apply them using a logical channel (Quinn & Weick, 1999). The model also goes hand in hand with change management, which is a familiar concept in the current world.
Businesses take various channels when it comes to the management of change and the all these depends on the kind of activities that they are conducting and also the people that they encounter in their line of work. The most important part of it comes in when one wants to identify the characteristics of the people who should take part in the change process and the efforts that they apply to make it a success. Kurt Lewin launched the model in the 1940s, and all the concepts and pillar stones that he placed on it are still in existence and applicable in the current economy (Quinn & Weick, 1999).
Lewin had a lot of science-related concepts and, therefore, ensured that people understood his three-stage model using an analogy of a block of ice. For Lewin, establishing an organizational transformation entails the creation of a perception that there is a change that needs to take place. The next step is coming up with ways of implementing the change and behaving in a manner that makes it happen (Quinn & Weick, 1999). The last step is making the newly acquired behavior to be a norm so that all the solid concepts that it has can be easily applicable.
Elements of the Model
For any form of change to be successful in a field of work the people or the personnel are supposed to get a clear understanding of the reason why they need to implement it. Lewin stated that there is a need motivate the employees with respect for the change before it can take place in an actual sense (Quinn & Weick, 1999). There is an importance that is attached to the cherished assumptions that the organization develops with all the others. When such activity takes place, then the organization can be declared to be at the unfreezing stage.
Lewin’s Change Model is commonly known to have stages and elements that make it applicable. The elements of the model include unfreezing, change and refreeze (Schein,1999). Unfreeze is the element or stage of the model that involves coming up with a mechanism that will make the organization realize that there is a need for a change to take place. The stage consists of dissolution of the current form of status quo to make it easy to operate using the newly built up mechanisms.
The primary focus of this stage is to ensure the relevant parties get the need of having a change in the organization. They are supposed to know that they do not need to carry on with same activities in the same way since the results are not likely to change. For instance, the organization can refer to the sales figures, the coroner satisfaction surveys that are worrying, the financial results that are poor and also the business culture that leads to increased employee turnover (Schein,1999). All these activities and events have a clear indication that the organization needs a change and everyone sees it in the same manner. A change is not easy to implement since people are already used to the traditional way of carrying out activities. There are those who are always skeptical when it comes to taking up new forms of business since they feel that it will interfere with them immensely.
For an organization to undergo a successful preparation for change, the players are supposed to begin from the core of everything. There is a need first to challenge all the beliefs, attached attitudes, behaviors, and also the beliefs that have been in existence for a long while (Schein, 1999). In this case, the change initiators are supposed to ensure that they have examined every sector so that all the foundations that they form can be successful. This stage is the most stressful since one needs to prevent the others from doing things in the same way. One is likely to evoke reactions that are strong, and that means skills and experience should come in handy.
One creates an effective crisis after urging all the members of an organization to change or even re-examine the core of all the activities. The crisis can be able to create a strong form of motivation since there are those who will embrace it while others will reject all the pillars that it has. In that case, studies, investigations, and training are supposed to be carried out before making an organization to change.
Change is the next element in Lewin’s Change Model. Change is the actual and the most critical component that it this model bears. Change comes after one has created all sorts of uncertainties during the unfreezing stage. In this step, the parties in an organization now start looking at new and better ways of doing things. All the individuals begin to show interest in the change and therefore start heading in its direction (Burnes, 2004). The transition or the movement that people make from the unfreeze stage to the change stage takes a long while, and thus patience is always key.
Various issues prevent people from changing instantly since they are not sure about what they are getting into or whatever evidence exists. The organization is supposed to create an environment which is conducive to the change to take place smoothly without any hiccups on the way (Steven, 2012). The Change Curve is the other essay writers model that can be used to understand this stage in a more detailed manner. The first thing that needs to be carried out for the people to accept a change is to ensure that they know all the benefits that they are going to accrue from it. Not everyone is likely to follow suit just because there is a need to have a change. There is a group which is expected to resist and will form part of the laggards. In most cases, organizations that do not avoid this pitfall do not initiate any change at all.
The key components the change stage are time and having a better mode of communication. The people are supposed to be given enough and extended time so that they can be able to develop a clear understanding of changes that are about to take place. They also need to be given time to establish a better connection with the transition period and the kind of association that it has with the company or organization (Taylor, 2010). The best approach, in this case, is to ensure that the people feel satisfied that they have understood the need to have a change and they have collected the relevant tools and mechanism that will make the activities successful.
Communication is critical since the people need someone who will explain the parameters of change. They need to be told the reason why the change will be useful and also be convinced that they will not regret adopting it. Communication, in this case, can be conducted using various media that include the company memo, social media, newsprints, bulletins, and announcements made during meetings and parade. The communication should be progressive and conducted over an extended period so that it can stick in the people’s mind. Communication is a better way of preparing the people for a new error of carrying out activities.
This stage comes in at a time when the changes have been put in place, and the organization is operating under the new terms and conditions. In this step, the organization displays better ways of conducting business in that it has a consistent flow of jobs and the organization chart is also stable in a way. The refreeze stage comes at a time when the organization needs to internalize all the initiatives that have been put in place with regards to the changes (Steven, 2012). There is a need to ensure that the changes are applicable at all times and that the people are not complaining about its implementation. In that case, the employees get to a situation where they are comfortable and have new and better ways of conducting their affairs.
The refreezing stage is essential regardless of the fact the organizations need to be in a constant mode of operation. Without the refreezing stage, the employees are likely to end up being stuck in that transition stage where they do not have a clue of anything that is about to take place (Steven, 2012). Therefore, they develop a feeling that most of the things are not done most acceptable. The refreeze stage is essential because the employees will be able to tackle all the problems using the mechanism that the organization has put in place in their favor. .
Use of the model
Lewin’s Change Model has been found to be useful and essential and that is the reason why most organizations are implementing it in their plans. The model is usually used whenever an organization wants to survey the current state of operation. This is mostly seen in the freeze stage when everything is still reasonable, and nothing has been done. The model is also used to make people understand the reason why a change needs to be initiated (Burnes, 2004). The model is still used to make the management to change their minds and in turn support all the things that need to be put in place. They can, therefore, offer to provide financial assistance if the change is beneficial in the long run.
The model is also used as a way of ensuring that there is constant communication between the management and those who are intending to initiate the change. The communication cuts across all the issues affecting the company at hand. Whenever a change is about to take place, there is a likely hood of rumors spreading, and the model has ways of ensuring that they are dispelled by providing clear answers to all the unclear circumstances. The model is still a way of empowering action in the organization towards a successful initiative (Burnes, 2004). The employees get the opportunity to interact with the management regarding the issues affecting them and the kind of changes that they are expecting. All the external stakeholders get time to communicate with the organizations since they are well connected to its affairs and issues that might arise in future.
Benefits and limitations of the model
The benefits attached to Lewin’s Change Model are simple and obvious since the organizations use it after they realize the excellent results that they will get after that. The model makes organizations to have an easy time while planning for an initiative that is supposed to take place in a given financial year (Quinn & Weick, 1999). The employees are likely to oppose any change that is imposed on them since they get it without any prior expectations. In that case, the organization will benefit from using the model since it will be able to address the objections that if faces head on without any barriers.
The other benefit of the model is that it facilitates better relationships between the organization and the employees. The relationship extends to also the customers since they are beneficiaries of the products that come from the good services that they get (Quinn & Weick, 1999). For instance, when a change is about to take place, the management has to communicate with the people and interact with them closely so that they can be able to understand everything. When such communication and interactions are taking place, the bond between the organization, the employees, and the customers becomes much stronger.
On the downside, the model leads to conflicts and controversies when it tries to face the oppositions directly. Changes come up after carrying out an assessment of the areas that seem to be lagging behind in terms of productivity and development. There are people are might not support the change initiatives as they feel they are comfortable with everything at the moment. During the objection, conflicts arise whereas a lot of time and energy is spent while trying to clarify all the issues (Quinn & Weick, 1999). The model also has a limitation in that it fleshes out the freezing and transition processes but states less objective and missions in the refreezing stage. Therefore, the organization is likely to get back to the original activities since it does not have a clear way of remaining in the refreezing stage.
In conclusion, change and change management are essential matters that a company is supposed to concentrate on with a lot of agility. All the changes that an organization puts in place are supposed to be beneficial to the employees and also the market in which they are operating. Lewin’s Change Model has its pros and cons, and therefore before choosing to use it, an organization is supposed to ensure that it has all the fundamental details about it. Planning, having informed stakeholders, aligned workforce and having a defined form of movement are some of the ways the model can be successfully used to initiate a change. The Lewin’s Change Model is commonly known to have the three stages that an organization has to pass through if it wants to land on a new and better way of conducting its business. The model has more benefits than limitations and that proves the fact that it should be embraced wholeheartedly.
Burnes, B. (2004). “Kurt Lewin and the planned approach to change: a re-appraisal.” Journal of Management Studies 41.6.
Quinn, E. R., & Weick, E. K. (1999). “Organizational Change and Development.” Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 361-386
Schein, E. H. (1999). “Kurt Lewin’s change theory in the field and in the classroom: Notes toward a model of managed learning.” Reflections: The SoL Journal, 9(1), 59-74
Steven, H. (2012). “Back to the future: revising Kotter’s 1996 Change Model.” Journal of Management Development, Vol. 31
Taylor, J. (2010). “Business rules and Decisioning for process experts.” Decision Management Solutions