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Change Management

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Change Management ­MGMT625
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LESSON # 3
KURT LEWIN MODEL: ASSUMPTIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
Theories and models are always based on some set of assumptions. This model too has some basic
assumptions which are as under:
1. An Individual or group performance is prone to regression unless some measures are taken to
institutionalise the improved performance level
2. There is a tension in person whenever a psychological need or intent exists, and the tension is
released when the need or intention is fulfilled.
3. This tension may be positive or negative, and under conflict situation this is identified as "force
field". Hence the term is known as force field analysis so as to evaluate the tension between
positive or facilitating forces and negative or constraining forces the given change plan.
Further to him there are three fundamental types of conflict.
1. Individuals stand mid-way between two positive goals of approximately equal strengths; for e.g.
individual has to choose between two good systems, so which one to buy.
2. Individuals find themselves between two approximately equal negative goals; for e.g. if an
individual has to make a choice between two things which he dislikes, that is a choice of lesser evil.
3. Individuals are equally exposed to opposing positive and negative forces
These assumptions about motivation process and conflict typology in human nature lead Lewin to
propose three staged model of a planned change management process.
1. Unfreeze
2. Change
3. Refreeze
Stage 1. Unfreeze the current equilibrium:
Before going for change in first stage we have to create tension amongst the recipient of change
that some thing is not good in the on-going system. This is to create emotional stir up which is to
break the shell of complacency and self righteousness amongst the subject of change. The reason is
to break the personal defences and group norms psychologically before actually going for change.
In the words of Edgar Schein this stage consists of the following attributes:
1) The physical removal of the individuals being changed from the accustomed routines, sources of
information and social relationships
2) The undermining and destruction of all social support.
3) Demeaning and humiliating experience to help individual. Being changed to see their old attitude
or behaviour as unworthy and thus motivated to change. Here I would like to give example of
ragging of new entrants from military training. New entrants are deliberately targeted for their
existing behaviour, norms and identity by the senior cadets so as to acquire new way of thinking
and sociology. More over they are deprived of social support as training academies are situated at
far off places and candidates are not permitted to meet their family members
4) The consistent linking of reward with willingness to change and of punishment with
unwillingness to change. Old behaviour is punished and new or desired behaviour is to be
rewarded. There would not be any meaningful change if the change targets perceive no linkage of
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reward and the desired behaviour, or if the old behaviour and norms are continued to be rewarded.
For Schein Unfreeze stage must simultaneously coupled with the following characteristics:
1. Disconfirmation of expectation
2. Induction of learning anxiety if the disconfirming data are accepted as valid and relevant. There
would not be any need felt for change and learning one thinks he has already perfect knowledge,
and stays confident. In other words one feels discomfort able with the existing system, performance
level knowledge or state of affairs. Similarly if there is no learning anxiety individuals are least
pushed for change as they getting satisfaction from the existing ones. This is also known as mind
blockage when people refuse to accept new or changed reality or they are in a state of disbelief and
refusing to learn the new things.
3. Provision of psychological safety that converts anxiety into motivation to change. If anxiety gets
converted not fear it will be creating resistance for change. Therefore anxiety should be strong
enough to be a source of motivation for change
This point is very critical and crucial because if we admit something with ourselves as wrong we
will loose effectiveness, self efficacy, self-esteem or even our identity. Therefore in order to learn
one has to be humble. Learning will be lower for individual with higher self esteem and vice versa.
Two types of change:
1) Action level or Symbolic
2) Belief or Cognitive
Comparatively speaking change in beliefs or belief system which is also identified as cognitive
restructuring brings in more sustainable and meaningful change than symbolic and action type of
change. Shock therapy in psychology is one such technique for changing belief of a patient. This
kind of treatment is very common in our social settings. For instance in parents-child relationship is
based on the severity of event if father slaps his son to make him stop doing certain things. The
concept of punishment is also a kind of shock therapeutic technique for behavioural modification.
Similarly in real life certain events change the attitude of a person. This has application in
management too. For instance organization going deficit the fear or shock of close down or job-cuts
may motivate individual and groups to change and work for turn around. While action level or
symbolic type manifest at extraneous to individual and at times is short lived and reflect merely a
compliance in outward actions of individuals or organizational practices only
In order to unfreeze mental programming is good for reducing resistance. Similarly in this stage it
is suggested to establish performance-reward linkage without which change would not be
sustainable. A very simple and powerful technique for motivating for change is to induce reward
for performer and no reward or punishment for non-performer. This is perhaps one very good
reason for change efforts to meet failure in a typical public sector organisation because in such
organization senior executives fail to cultivate or make people perceive such linkage to exist.
Because in public sector organizations all managers (good or bad) get same increment, promotion
or other benefits based on seniority or on the length of service. Therefore very convincing reforms
fail to bring in behavioural change because these reforms meet with failure at the very first stage as
these are unable to even unfreeze the situation
2. Change Movement
This means a movement from existing to the desired form. It is a state of transition or
transformation which depicts neither an old state nor a new state of affairs. This is very critical
stage as it may either way backward (in case of failure) or forward. According to one author the
time or stage in transition is known as "crazy period". Generally in this phase individuals and
organizations try to cope up simultaneously both systems; existing and the desired one. The
transition process is usually not very smooth, neat and clean process rather entails upheavals.
Important thing is to follow the desired objectives or system in a consistently. Ambiguity and
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parallel work of old and new has to be tolerated. Initial productivity of new system is considered to
be lower than the previous system.
The process is to occur through two mechanisms:
i) Identification ­ when role models are there in the environment, for e.g. individuals who can
easily follow the footsteps of role model and in context of organisation the popular term is bench
marking ­ following the best practices of the industry leaders. Nations also tend to identify other
nations as their model for economic or socio-political development. For instance economic
development strategies of far eastern states like Korean and Chinese are cited to other developing
countries for economic development. In the field of political and constitutional development often
USA and UK are identified as the most democratic and political mature societies.
ii). Internalisation. Knowledge exists most of the time at external level. The most critical aspect is
how to internalise knowledge, therefore just identification and mere knowledge is not enough. Here
internalisation refers to the behavioural aspect of the recipient According to one version only that is
considered to be knowledge which is part of one's behaviour (reflected in action). Therefore going
by this criteria knowledge of good practices is not enough unless good practices are practiced.
Movement from one stage to another stage is initiated by trigger event and manager's
personalisation of trigger.
Mood and disposition
3. Refreeze
Once the new objective or desired state of affairs has been achieved the problem with this phase is
to institutionalise the new system so that people might not revert back to the older ways of doing
things. The purpose in this phase is to stabilize new learning. This can be done through behavioural
reinforcement. In this stage again the effectiveness of performance ­reward linkage is considered to
be the part of enabling environment. New behaviour is to be internalised. Important note here is that
effects of many training programmes and lectures are short lived when a person returns to the
environment that does not reinforce. Hence continuous and intermittent reinforcement is needed.
Another example from real life is that Pakistanis are known as highly productive abroad but back in
their own society they are known as work shruggers, the difference is on account of enabling
environment. Therefore in order to refreeze the new behaviour, system or equilibrium we have to
provide enabling environment.
Application
The model can be applied to all three levels to explain change management phenomenon; societal,
organizational and individual. For instance our society in over all analysis is in transition phase.
Older things, system and traditions have been unfrozen, but we have yet to learn the dynamics of
new systems as the productivity of newly learned behaviour is at lower level than the traditional
system. The society is in transition from agrarian to industrial, rural to urban and traditional to
modern. Members of such a society face a situation of role overload and role conflict bears
attributes of both systems. We have unlearned our traditions but yet to learn modern productive
traits. This transition reflects what is identified by one author as `crazy period'.
At organizational level we can take the example of organization undergoing automation
programme. Therefore first thing is to unfreeze the mindset of managers by creating dissatisfaction
about the existing system file work or manual work. So creating discomfort amongst members of
organization about lower level of productivity, creating sense of urgency and instilling fear of
lagging behind in competition, enlisting perceived benefits for motivating managers are various
techniques for unfreezing. During the second phase of change movement once the decision is taken
for automation leads to multiple problems of learning, training, jobs and position displacements,
hiring of computer technologist, budgetary allocations etc will create unease and tensions in the two
types of system; manual and automated one. At this stage it seems that previous system was better
in terms of efficiency and productivity as this reveals numerous problems with newer systems. Key
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to successful transformation lies in staying consistent, learning from mistake and tolerating
ambiguity. And finally in the refreeze stage people get accustomed to newer system as learners and
performers are rewarded. Newer behaviour and work ethics are internalised.
Similarly at individuals also undergo through the same stages like when they have to learn new
knowledge, skills or values which are considered to be more productive. First in unfreezing stage
resolving intra-individual conflict or tension, envisioning the desired state and dissatisfaction with
existing levels of knowledge, skills or values. Second is to take actual steps and moving into crazy
period or transition phase which is demanding in terms of learning new habits, values and
commitments. Once the success is achieved individuals needs to programme internalise or refreeze
the newly learnt values.
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Table of Contents:
  1. COURSE ORIENTATION:Course objectives, Reading material, Scope of the subject
  2. BENEFITS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT:Traditional management domain
  3. KURT LEWIN MODEL: ASSUMPTIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:Change Movement, Refreeze
  4. IMPLICATIONS OF KURT LEWIN MODEL:Sequence of event also matters, A Critical Look
  5. SOME BASIC CONCEPTS AND DEFINITIONS:Strategic change, Logical incrementalism
  6. TRANSACTIONAL VS. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP:Micro-changes, Organisation Development
  7. THEORIES OF CHANGE IN ORGANISATIONS
  8. LIFE CYCLE THEORY:Unit of Change, Mode of change, Organisation death
  9. TELEOLOGICAL THEORIES OF CHANGE:Unit of change, Mode of Change, Limitations
  10. DIALECTICAL THEORIES OF CHANGE:Unit of Change, Strategic planning
  11. A DIALECTICAL APPROACH TO ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGY AND PLANNING:
  12. LIMITATION OF DIALECTICS; DA AND DI:Overview of application of dialectics
  13. THEORIES OF CHANGE IN ORGANISATIONS
  14. APPLICATION OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY:Managerial focus
  15. FURTHER APPLICATION OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORIES:Criticism
  16. GREINER’S MODEL OF ORGANISATIONAL– EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION
  17. GROWTH RATE OF THE INDUSTRY:CREATIVITY, DIRECTION, DELEGATION
  18. COORDINATION:COLLABORATION, The Crisis
  19. ORGANISATION ECOLOGY:Structural Inertia, Internal Structural Arrangements, External Factors
  20. CLASSIFICATION OF ORGANIZATIONAL SPECIES:Extent of Environmental Selection, Determinants of Vital Rates,
  21. FOOTNOTES TO ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE:Stable Processes of Change, Rule Following, Conflict
  22. SOME COMPLEXITIES OF CHANGE:Superstitious Learning, Solution Driven Problems
  23. ORGANIZATIONAL ADAPTATION:The Entrepreneurial problem, The Administrative Problem
  24. PROSPECTORS:Analyzer, Reactors, Adaptation and Strategic Management
  25. SKELETAL MODEL OF ADAPTATION:Determinants of Adaptive ability, The Process of Adaptation
  26. STRATEGIC CHANGE:Nature of Change, The Importance of Context, Force field Analysis
  27. Management Styles and Roles:Change Agent Roles, Levers for managing strategic Change
  28. SYMBOLIC PROCESSES:Political Processes, COMMUNICATING CHANGE, Change Tactics
  29. STRATEGIC CHANGE:Pettigrew & Whipp’s Typology, Context on X-axis (Why of change)
  30. STRATEGIC CHANGE:Attributes of SOC Model, Implications for Management
  31. STRATEGIC CHANGE:Flow of Information, Recruitment, SOC Process
  32. Determinants of a Successful Change Management:Environmental, Management Orientation, Management Orientation
  33. Higgins 08 S Model – An Adaptation from Waterman’s Seven S model:Strategy, Systems and Processes, Resources
  34. IMPLEMENTATION AND STRATEGIC CHANGE: CONSTRAINING FORCES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGIC CHANGE (CASE STUDY OF XYZ COMPANY)
  35. IMPLEMENTATION AND STRATEGIC CHANGE: CONSTRAINING FORCES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGIC CHANGE (CASE STUDY OF XYZ COMPANY)
  36. WHY IMPLEMENTING STRATEGIC CHANGE IS SO DIFFICULT?:Change Typology, Technical Change
  37. IMPLEMENTATION APPROACHES:Attributes of incremental change,
  38. IMPLEMENTATION: RADICAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE
  39. IMPLEMENTATION: RADICAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE:Definition of Leadership, Follower Work Facilitation
  40. IMPLEMENTATION: RADICAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE:Recognize the challenge
  41. IMPLEMENTATION: RADICAL OR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE
  42. IMPLEMENTATION: PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM MODEL:Features of Radical Change, Theory of P-E model
  43. CHANGE IMPLEMENTATION: OD MODELS:The Transactional Factors
  44. CULTURE, VALUES AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE:Significance and Role of Values, Values Compete
  45. ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES, CULTURE AND ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE:Issues in Change Management