Kurt Lewin Unfreeze Change Refreeze| Kurt Lewin 3 Step Change Model
Kurt Lewin 3 Step Change Model
Kurt Lewin was a German-American psychologist known as one of the pioneers of social, organizational, and applied psychology. He is credited as the first to study group dynamics and organizational development.
Lewin was born in Germany in 1890 began his education and studies there. He served as a soldier in World War One but was wounded and returned to Germany, obtaining his doctorate from the University of Berlin in 1916.
During his doctoral research, Lewin became increasingly interested in philosophical science, gestalt psychology, and group dynamics.
Lewin’s research gained much attention as a well-published psychologist, and in 1930 Lewin was invited to the University of Stanford as a visiting professor.
In 1933, because of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, he decided to immigrate to the United States with his wife and daughter.
He worked at Cornell University and the University of Iowa until 1944, when he helped establish the research center for Group Dynamics at MIT. During this time, he became famous for his research and group dynamics, specifically force field analysis and the three-stage change model.
Lewins Force Field Analysis
Lewins Theory of Force Field Analysis essentially defines and describes all forces supporting and opposing the desired change and uses that information to determine the change’s viability.
This model is used as a framework and simple visual tool for leaders. It identifies the factors and forces that influence both sides of a situation, identifying driving forces that provide momentum toward a goal, as well as resisting or restraining forces that work to block or hinder change.
Change, whether at the individual or group level, is a profound, dynamic process. It involves pain and learning without loss of ego, identity, and difficulty relearning as you attempt to restructure thoughts, feelings, and attitudes.
What Lewin is saying is that the stability of human behavior is based on quasi-stationary equilibrium. The force field affecting the equilibrium is supported by driving and restraining forces. Driving forces are usually already present in the system. But what’s harder to get at are the restraining forces because usually there are personal psychological defenses or group norms embedded in organizational or community culture.
Therefore, resistance to change happens. Maybe they don’t want to go in the other direction because they’re so used to our old ways.
The force field analysis helps indicate the underlying balance of power and identify potential stakeholders and their positions to better prepare for and make decisions.
Kurt Lewin Unfreeze Change Refreeze
Kurt Lewin developed a change model involving three steps; Unfreezing, changing, and re-freezing. The model represents a straightforward and practical model for understanding the change process.
For Kurt Lewin, the process of change entails creating the perception that a change is needed, then moving towards the new desire level of behavior and finally solidifying that new behavior as the norm. The model is still very widely used and serves as a basis where many modern change models.
Lewins three Stage change model breaks down any change into three equally important phases. Each face should be contemplated in order to ensure a change become sustainable and permanent.
The three-stage change model, also known as the Lewin Change Model and Unfreeze Change Refreeze Method, is a model developed by Lewin describing the change process to understand it better.
By undergoing the three steps, you can implement change and make sure the change sticks among the organization’s people.
Kurt Lewin Unfreezing Stage of Change
The first stage is called unfreezing. This is where we recognize the need for change, determine what behaviors and attitudes need to be changed, and ensure adequate support and communication to move forward to the second stage.
People will naturally resist change. The unfreezing stage aims to create awareness of how the status quo or current acceptance level somehow hinders the organization. Old habits and ways of thinking processes, people, and organizational structures must all be identified.
The need to show employees that change is necessary for the organization to create or maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
By identifying the impact of the current issues or problems, you help those impacted become aware of the why to support them unfree.
Communication is critical during this stage to have informed employees about the imminent change, the logic behind it, and how it will benefit each employee.
The idea is that the more we know about a change and the more we feel it is necessary and urgent, the more motivated we are to accept the change.
Lewins Force field analysis can be used to assist with this step by better understanding the change. Be aware that aspects of change relating to uncertainty or cultural shifts can make unfreezing difficult for some employees and require strong guidance and leadership support.
During unfreeze stage, some form of dissatisfaction or frustration must be present for the learning and change. To start, you must feel that you will fail to meet your needs or fail to achieve some goals you’ve set for yourself if you do not change. This is called survival anxiety.
However, you may feel scared to learn something new in relation to the change because to you, and it may mean that something is wrong or that they were not an effective person. This is called learning anxiety.
To produce change, the learning anxiety must be resolved through psychological safety by providing an environment that makes you feel safe to commit mistakes while learning. You can become motivated to change.
Lewin’s Changing Stage
The second stage is the actual change. During this transitional stage, the determines the changes are implemented. Support again is critical here to ensure the appropriate changes are being made and understood.
This is when the change becomes real. It’s also consequently the time that most people struggle with the new reality. It is a time marked with uncertainty and fear, making it the hardest step to overcome.
During the changing, step employees start to learn new behaviors, processes, and new thinking ways. Again, training, constant communication, and individual support are key for becoming familiar with the change. Changes should be carefully planned and implemented.
Throughout the changing stage, people should be reminded of the reasons for the change and how it will benefit them once fully implemented.
The change stage could be difficult due to employees being forced to adapt, overcome their fears or resistance and implement the actual change.
Psychological safety is an important motivator; however, Lewin warns that it does not necessarily control or predict learning direction while it creates motivation to learn.
One of the key elements of a manage change process is providing a role model for the learners. Alternatively, you can also undergo a process called scanning Inside, which is the type of trial-and-error learning where you try to find a solution for the issues or challenges you are trying to resolve.
Lewin’s Reefrezing Stage
The final stage, called freezing or re-freezing. During this stage, changes air reinforced, rewarded, and stabilize.
In the refreezing stage, planned changes made to the processes, targets, organizational structure, and people are accepted and re-frozen as the new norm or status quo.
Agin, here success is being celebrated, and the goal is to integrate these changes into the organization’s culture and treat it as the norm.
Kurt Lewin found the re-freezing step crucial to ensure that people do not revert to their old ways of thinking. Efforts should be made to guarantee the change is not lost but is cemented into the organization’s culture and maintained as the new acceptable way.
Positive reinforcement and acknowledgment of every effort are typically used to reinforce the new culture because it is believed that positively reinforce behavior will likely be repeated.
It is worth noting that without the refreezing step, there is a high chance that people will revert to the old ways of doing things and thinking.
Taking one step forward and two steps back can be common when organizations overlook the refreezing step to anticipate future change.
Lewins three-step process is regarded as a foundational model for making the change in any organization.
Kurt Lewin Model of Change Examples
A local medicare facility has decided to change from using manual handwritten medical records to electronic records for their clients. The local facility staff have always relied on manual handwritten medical records when performing their daily jobs and thought that is not efficient and occasionally getting lost. Because of this, they decided to go the electronic way as a way to make the record streamlined and improve efficiency.
Unfreezing Stage of Change Example
In the unfree stage. The CEO identified what behaviors and attitudes needed to be changed to work toward a healthier company culture. This included numerous meetings and cultural surveys to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying issues.
For this local firm, they need to unfreeze the employee’s belief that the old way of recording patient records is adequate.
The management team should communicate the new electronic method’s perceived benefits, demonstrating how the pros outweigh the cons. the management can also prepare for the change by hiring some trusted executives that he could rely on to assist with this transition.
The employees will need to understand how much more efficient the new electronic recording method will be than the old handwritten process.
Changing Stage of Lewin’s Model Example
What will follow is the change implementation stage. The management team will need to transition into the changing stage by implementing the new electronic recording system.
This will mark a time of uncertainty for the employees. Therefore the management team must offer training and support as the employees become familiar with the new electronic system. They should also evaluate employees based on new company goals and norms, letting go of and moving employees as needed.
Specific steps are taken to enhance the physical environment to reflect the company and its desired culture and values.
Refreezing Stage of Lewins Model
During the re-freeze stage, the new recording method has been incorporated into the organization’s culture for the local firm. Employees are beginning to recognize the Electronic system as the new norm and how they will record patient information in the future.
During the re-free stage, employees are recognized and rewarded for adapting to the new company culture, and the changes are successfully integrated as the norm.
To help sustain the change, company gatherings are now routine and focused on supporting the new, open, and supportive culture needed to enhance its business aspect.
To sustain change, you must remember that everything you do with a client is already an intervention as an agent of change.
To be an effective change agent, you must access your ignorance and let go of your expert rule so you can get a tune to the client system.
Only when you have genuinely understood the problem and what kind of help is needed through your collaborative work with employees Can you even begin to think about recommendations and solutions.
Only then can the plan change process be fully implemented and evaluated
Pros and Cons of Lewin Change Model
Kurt Lewin Change Model Advantages
- Kurt Lewin’s change model’s useful framework of a process of change is quite easy and simple to understand. Application of the concepts of Unfreeze change freeze together with the Kurt Lewin Force Field Analysis, at a personal level, can give us insight and help us better understand how we deal with change.
- The Lewin change model has a fewer step that has to be followed compared to other complex change models.
Disadvantages of Kurt Lewin Change Model
- Kurt Lewin Unfreeze Change Refreeze model does not address the issues of employee insecurities and unproductivity during the unfreezing stages of change. It creates a doubt in their mind whether they would be able to perform their job effectively or not.
- Another criticism of Kurt Lewin’s change model is the refreeze phase, as organizational change is a continuous process, and change may occur frequently. Thus, no time to settle down into comfortable routines. Again, changes may be constant in a challenging environment, and the organization may not have the time to get used to the modifications.