FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS
In today’s business environment change remains a constant, and as such, organisations both large and small must adapt if they want to remain successful. Organisations that respond more effectively to changes are more likely to succeed than those that do not. The success of any change depends on the nature of the business, the change itself, and how well the people involved understands the process of change. The concept of ‘change management” is a concern of most organisations today. Lewin (1943), a German Physicist and Social Scientist, developed one of the cornerstone models of change management, known as The Force Field Analysis. Lewin theorised a three-step approach for implementing any organisational change. This is referred to as, Unfreeze – Change - Refreeze. He used the analogy of changing a rectangular block of ice into the shape of a cone. He theorised that it is much easier to unfreeze or melt a block of ice then mould the water into the desired cone shape before refreezing. The Force Field Analysis provides management with a tool for understanding, identifying, and analysing all the factors for and against change. According to Lewin (1943), the perceived status quo in life is created by the perceptions of societies. He reasoned that the systems that exist in organisations (the equilibrium) are not static but are rather created by a dynamic balance of forces moving in opposing directions. Forces for and against change usually fall in one or more of the following categories: values, attitudes, habits, persons, procedures, customs and policies. Lewin (1943) postulates that for change to occur, the driving forces must exceed the restraining forces. The result is a shift in the equilibrium, or the creation of a new mode of operating within the organisation. The Force Field Analysis has given us a tool to better understand and describe how Red Stripe Jamaica Limited has instituted recent changes in its local operations. In October 2011, Red Stripe Jamaica Limited first announced that it would be downsizing production at its Kingston location and outsource the production of Red Stripe Beer destined for the US market, to City Brewer in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. By acknowledging and communicating the need for change and setting timelines to implement the intended change, Red Stripe has created a sense of urgency and stress (controlled) on the organisation. According to Lewin (1943), this is necessary before any change can be implemented.
Lewin proposed that the initial step in any change, “The Unfreezing”, begins when the organisation becomes aware of the need for change. This is the most difficult period of the change process because the organisation is forced to examine many of its core values and procedures. The unfreezing process began at Red Stripe because there was an apparent motivation for doing so; that is, senior management have identified compelling reasons for changing the current mode of operation in the organisation. Management at Red Stripe surveyed the organisation and realised that the current status quo was not effective. In an article published on June 4, 2010, “Red Stripe to Undergo Organizational Review”, the chairman of Red Stripe, Alfred Barnes alluded to extreme challenges present in the economic and competitive environments, which has created a need for the organisation to restructure. In the Stock Analysis of Denoes and Geddes Limited (DG)/ Red Stripe, as at December 2011, it was identified that declining sales in the local market, increased competition , increased taxes and increased production cost where major factors affecting the company’s bottom line. For any radical organisational change to occur, it must have significant support from senior management and key members within the organisation. The force field analysis gives Red Stripe a tool to show how the driving forces for change compare against restraining forces. By showing how forces...
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