Lewin’s force field analysis model states that all systems have driving and restraining forces. Change occurs through the process of unfreezing, changing, and refreezing.
One side of the force field model represents the driving forces that push organizations toward a new state of affairs. These might include new competitors or technologies, evolving workforce expectations, or a host of other environmental changes. Corporate leaders also produce driving forces even when external forces for change aren’t apparent. For instance, some experts call for “divine discontent” as a key feature of successful organizations, meaning that leaders continually urge employees to strive for higher standards or new innovations even when the company outshines the competition.
The other side of Lewin’s model represents the restraining forces that maintain the status quo. These restraining forces are commonly called “resistance to change” because they appear as employee behaviors that block the change process. Stability occurs when the driving and restraining forces are roughly in equilibrium, that is, they are of approximately equal strength in opposite directions. Lewin’s force field model emphasizes that effective change occurs by unfreezing the current situation, moving to a desired condition, and then refreezing the system so that it remains in the desired state. Unfreezing involves producing disequilibrium between the driving and restraining forces. As we will describe later, this may occur by increasing the driving forces, reducing the restraining forces, or