Organisational change, a vibrant force in the current scenario of rapid developments, is an inevitable feature of organisational life. The environment within and outside the organisations is changing at an ever-increasing pace, creating the need for faster response to the environment and eventually for deep seated transformations within the organisations themselves.
The models have been categorised depending upon their nature of change, analysis and treatment into three groups: a) Process-based models
b) Content-based models
c) Integrated models
The focus in the process models is on the actual steps—the 'how' of organisational change process. These models deal with the sequence of steps involved in bringing about change in an organisation and with interventions related to it.
Lewin's Model of Change
This model is one of the early models of planned change. According to Lewin (1975), change underlies the modification of those forces that keep a system's behaviour stable. The level of behaviour at any point of time is the resultant vector of two vectors—one aiming towards maintaining the status quo, and the other striving for change. When these two forces balance each other equally, the current behaviour is maintained, which Lewin calls the quasi-stationary equilibrium. According to Lewin, change in a system, hence, can be induced by either increasing the forces for change or decreasing the forces maintaining the current state or by applying a combination of both.
In this model organisational change affects three levels —Individual level, Structure and Systems level, and Organisational Climate level, which have been explained as under:
❖ Individual level (change affecting individual's attitude, beliefs, values, skills and behaviour) ❖ Structure and systems level (change affecting incentive system, information systems etc.) ❖ Organisational climate (change affecting leadership styles, interpersonal relationships, decision-making)
In order to provide a basis for change at all these levels in an organisation, Lewin's model consists of the following three critical steps:
This involves reducing forces that maintain the organisation's present behaviour. This may be accomplished at the individual level by disconfirming individual's present behaviour. The individual here may be given information that reveals incongruity between the behaviour desired by organisational members and his/her current behaviour. At the systems level, new and more effective designs such as matrix management etc. may be demonstrated to initiate change. At the climate level, survey feedback methods may be used to understand and feel about certain management practices. The purpose of unfreezing is to heighten the awareness of employees about discrepancies currently prevailing in their behaviour, the system and the organisational climate, and attune them to the need for change.
This refers to the shift in behaviour to a new level resulting in the development of new behaviours, values and attitudes in individuals through changes in the organisational structure and processes. The changes initiated must be perceived as solutions to problems identified during the unfreezing stage. This often leads to organisation shake-ups. Organisational change may include restructuring, change of roles and change of jobs. [pic]
This is the stage where the organisation stabilises and achieves a new state of equilibrium and a preferred behaviour. It is often accomplished through the use of various support mechanisms, all aimed at reinforcing the new organisational state. The new state is made relatively secure against change until the next cycle of change is planned. The different ways to freeze behaviour in organisational members may include awards, recognition, rewards and demonstration of benefits to individuals.