Kurth Lewin's

Topics: Change management, Change, Kurt Lewin Pages: 12 (3178 words) Published: October 14, 2009

The purpose of this article is to criticize Kurt Lewin’s model of change. I will shows how successful change can be encouraged and facilitated for long-term success. The article compares the characteristics of Lewin’s Three-Step Change Theory. According to me Kurt Lewin’s theory is agoal and plan oriented because it only consider about change not peoples feeling and opinions. His theory makes a complex sense. It is assumed that it takes decades to understand his theory. I will be providing the evidence further in my critical analysis. This article also include other theories about manage or overcome resistance to change in organization. The theories serve as testimony to the fact the change is a real phenomenon.


Lewin’s Three-Step Change Theory

Kurt Lewin (1951) introduced the three-step change model. This social scientist views behaviour as a dynamic balance of forces working in opposing directions. Driving forces facilitate change because they push employees in the desired direction. Restraining forces hinder change because they push employees in the opposite direction. Therefore, these forces must be analyzed and Lewin’s three-step model can help shift the balance in the direction of the planned change.

Different approaches of resistance to change:

According to Edgar H.Schein, you cannot understand a system until you try to change. While Morgan remarks, Resistance arises when the forces of an established attractor are more powerful than those of a new or emergent one.

But one of the cornerstone models for understanding organizational change was developed by Kurt Lewin back in 1950s. His model is known as unfreeze change-Refreeze refers to the three stages process of change. Lewin’s a physicist as well as social scientist, explained organizational change using the analogy of changing the shape of a block of ice. Causes of change:

Organizations chages over time in a variety of ways. There are a number of ways which they might chage:

From small companies to larger companies:
E.g they may grow from being sole trader enterprise to partnership and then to companies like private to public companies.

By growth process:
They can either grow organically by ploughing back profits and owner capital into the business. Alternatively they can borrow external finance or grow by taking over and merging with other companies.

Altering their culture:
Changing the typical patterns and behaviour within the organization e.g moving from a top-down organizational to a more democratic from

Organizational typically change in response to the external environment, as well as through the development of competitive strengths within the organization. There are some external factors which make the organization to change.

Social factors: e.g changes in demography and consumer buying patterns.

Legal factors: Legal pressures that force organizations to change to comply with laws e.g by responding to environmental legislation.

Economical factors: Relate to booms and slumps in general economic activity, changes in interest rate, inflation rates etc.

Political factors: Relate to wider political changes e.g a government taking a particular line on privatization/the role of the state in society.

Technological factors: Relate to new developments in technology. E.g the development of web based selling methods by companies.

Change is a common thread that runs through all businesses regardless of size, industry and age. Our world is changing fast and, as such, organizations must change quickly too. Organizations that handle change well thrive, whilst those that do not may struggle to survive.

The concept of “change management” is a familiar one in most businesses today. But, how businesses manage change (and how successful they are at it) varies enormously...

References: Lewin, K. Principles of topological psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936
Lewin, K
Lewin, I. Resolving social conflicts; selected papers on group dynamics. Gertrude W. Lewin (Ed.). New York: Harper & Row, 1948.
Lewin, K. Field theory in social science; selected theoretical papers. D. Cartwright (Ed.). New York: Harper & Row, 1951
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