Kurt Lewin, a noted social psychologist, developed the three step model of organizational change. The three steps are Unfreezing, Changing, and Refreezing. Unfreezing involves melting resistance to change by dealing with people's fears and anxieties so they can be more open to the change. People are given new information that makes them aware that the status quo is unacceptable and that some type of change is required. Change is departure from status quo. Change can involve technology, people, products, services, or management policies and administrations. The last is Refreezing in which new management practices and employees behaviors become part of employees' routine activities. Coaching, training, and adapting appropriate reward systems facilitate the refreezing step.
How can managers make use of this model as related to the changing economy?
Like it or not, the changing economy will necessitate drastic reorganization possibly due to downturns in the economy. Lewin's model could be used by managers to more efficiently implement any organizational changes. For example, suppose that a firm is facing the prospect of downsizing due to a slow market. In the first step, unfreezing, senior management could inform all employees via the company intranet as well as through informal "Townhall" style meetings of the serious economic challenges facing the organization. Input gathered from employees as well as from internal audits would then be made available to all employees. The second step, change, would then be implemented. Most likely in the form of a reorganization involving the elimination of some positions. In the final step, refreezing, intra-organizational adjustments would be made to accommodate the new organizational work flow. Any employees who have been terminated could be offered post-employment retraining or vocational assistance. Most importantly, senior... [continues]
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