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Lewin’s1 model for the management of change is one of the simplest, comprising three steps: unfreeze, change and refreeze. These align closely with the ‘prepare, implement and sustain’ steps in the change management procedure.
This step involves reducing the forces that are resistant to change and want to maintain the status quo. The Business Change Manager will need to establish the need for change, through documents such as the vision and benefit profiles, and dismantle the prevailing mind-set.
This is where new behaviours and attitudes are developed. It is also where the outputs of a project or projects are adopted and outcomes achieved.
Benefits can only be realised longer term if the changes are embedded in the organisation and become the normal way of doing things. Lewin originally called this ‘freezing’ but it is most commonly reproduced as ‘refreezing’.
In their book ‘Making Sense of Change Management’, Cameron and Green2 suggest that Lewin’s model is most applicable to Morgan’s ‘machine’ and ‘organism’ organisational metaphors.
- Lewin K (1951), Field Theory in Social Science, Harper and Row, New York
- Cameron, E and Green, M (2009), Making Sense of Change Management, Kogan Page, London