Kurt Lewin's theory of the change analysis is a widely accepted and analyzed model. Lewin was a social scientist and a change agent and his theories were better recognized due to their practicality of applying to change occurring in organizations. Before organizational change was taken seriously and processes put in place to manage it, change was accepted as something that just occurred and people just battled it out. It was not embraced with enthusiasm and considered as a part of the growth of an organization.
Lewin Introduced a three-stage model of change: unfreeze, change, and refreeze. Lewin's Forcefield Analysis defines an organizational environment in need of change as a state of imbalance between driving forces (legislation, economic imperatives, and competitive pressures) and restraining forces (traditional practices, organizational culture, job insecurity). To achieve change, three steps are required: (1) the driving and restraining forces that hold the organization in a state of equilibrium must be unfrozen; (2) an imbalance must be introduced that enables change to take place, preferably achieved by reducing the restraints; and (3) the new elements must be refrozen.
Unfreezing is the phase during which an organization is prepared for a change. This phase also will include disconfirmation of expectations, creation of guilt or anxiety and the provision of psychological safety that converts anxiety into motivation to change.
Changing is the phase where a planned change actually takes place and moving into a new position is often through identifying a new model or mentor, scanning the environment for new relevant information.
Refreezing is the phase at which change is stabilized and the organization is consolidated for the new mode of operation.
This model still implies that change is sporadic. Mostly the situation is stable. Every now and then there arises a need for planned change. One does not wait until change is forced upon the organization. One needs to anticipate, strategically plan and implement and be ready to face the change when it does occur. One of the most important consequences is that change is a collective responsibility of the organization. Participation by all the parties involved, which includes, the employees, clients and management, are necessary to achieve successful organization change implementation.
The three most commonly recommended strategies are self-explanatory: top down; bottom up; and a combination of these.
Changes can be due to a variety of factors. Depending on the internal and external factors, change can be made in the area of tasks, people, culture, technology and structure. Increasing competition, Mergers and Acquisitions, changing legislations and advancing technology can precipitate change.
Changing technology is often the harbinger of change. Typically, change of any kind