Organizational change is necessarily intricate and multi-faceted, given the large number of problems and variables involved. Lewin’s change management model envisages, a planned and linear change. Lewin’s model suggests that change moves from one fixed state to the next through a number of planned steps. This was largely true half a century ago, because of the relatively simple and localized supply chains, slower and fewer technologies as well as communication systems. Lewin’s theory implies, in part that change is for companies that are struggling, and or choose to change to achieve a certain strategic goal. However, with stern global competition, fast technology and changing consumer preferences, the model fails to reflect this by suggesting that it is possible to re-freeze an organization. In real sense, any organization that needs to remain competitive must continue changing i.e. it would remain in a liquid state for the long-term. Effectively, Lewin’s assertion that organization, can or should move from one stable state to the next stable state, through pre-planned actions is simply not relevant anymore (Ashridge Learning Guide, 1997; McAleese, 2013).
An adaptation of Lewin’s model borrows from both the task alignment approach and Bullock & Batten’s four-phase model of programmed change management. The adapted model leaves the first and second stages intact, but the third step is altered so that it facilitates continuous change. According to Lewin’s model, the refreezing step involves the creation of policies, reward systems and procedures that ensure changes implemented in the second step become part of the ordinary working procedures. However, the new model adds an antifreeze at this stage. It takes the last phase of the task alignment approach so that organizations continuously monitor and make adjustments in responses to difficulties in the revitalization process. Further, the model incorporates Bullock & Batten model’s exploration stage. This stage includes the exploration of the possible need for change, identification of required changes and identification of the resources necessary. If changes are necessary, freezing does not occur (and if it has already occurred, it unfreezes), so that the change model is now circular as against linear. A cyclic Lewin’s change management model (or Lewin’s model with antifreeze) ensures that organizations never rest on their laurels, but continually identify opportunities to gain further competitive advantages.
Ashridge Learning Guide. (1997). Ashridge Learning Guide: Change Management. Ashridge.
McAleese, I. (2013). A Response to Critique of the Refreeze Step in Lewin’s Model of Organizational Change from the Viewpoint of Organizational Behavior. International journal of the academy of Organizational behavior management Issue 4, 104-123.