Levin’s Model in Change Management
How it works
There are, with any other theory or concept, a wide range of change management theories with Kurt Lewin in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s identified as the first notable contribution that has been utilized with the most with efficiency (Weick & Quinn, 1999). His model for the theory involves the simple concept of unfreeze, change and refreeze. The three- stage process looks at change with detailed stages in order to organize and manage the plan for change. This model change has been utilized by organizations to implement change throughout the decades with success. Although, there have been several other models, Lewin’s model has appeared to be the most efficient and effective, more specifically in the non-profit sector (Auer, Twombly, & De Vita, 2011).
During the first stage of the process a determination needs to be made regarding what changes need to occur. The organization must be analyzed to understand what current state they are in. This will be able to determine why changes are necessary. Support from upper management, stakeholders and other management is necessary to implement the change and for the planning process as well. For followers to begin to accept the change that will occur a compelling message will need to be relayed that includes a vision, strategy and supporting evidence. No doubt there will be resistance, therefore management needs to be able to understand that resistance, provide open communication and address concerns in a timely manner.
How it works
During the second stage of the process the lines of communication should always be in constant motion. The benefits of the change should be described with as much detail as possible and include how the changes with affect everyone. Everyone will need to be prepared for the change that will be implemented. At this point any rumors should be swiftly addressed with open and honesty. There should be plenty of opportunities to involve employees in the process as to reduce any resistance that will occur.
The last stage of change involves refreezing. The changes must be anchored in the culture of the working environment in order to be successful. There will be barriers to sustaining change that will need to be identified in order to develop and sustain the changes. Support from leadership is crucial as well as from all levels of management. Feedback from support and training will ensure that the changes are on the right path to success. Above all else, the success in changes should be brought to the attention of the whole organization and be celebrated.
Further theories for change management include what Thomas (1985) has described as the concept of a forcefield analysis (FFA). Change management can incorporate tools that are available in the organization to assist individuals in making successful transitions and to realize that change is inevitable. There are 5 steps in the process that include; 1- describing the plan for the change, 2- identify the forces for change, 3- identify the forces against the change, 4- assign scores to the degree of influence for change and 5- analyze and apply.
There will always be a resistance to change, as it is human nature, but change is necessary to move forward in any organization. Resistance can come from prior commitments, government regulations and internal forces such as labor relations and the organizational culture of the environment. FFA doesn’t necessarily reduce the resistance that will be present, it will provide tools to identify, assess and reduce the forces. The general guidelines for using a FAA indicate that it is useful when used in groups. Change should not be threatening if all the parties involved perceive the change as useful- this has been the biggest challenge that I have experienced when working organizations that want to implement change.
Change will always be opposed unless it is requested – again I have also experienced this when change is being implemented. When there is a big change within the organization the greater the resistance to the change will occur. Changes in strategies can be established or increased by providing specific information regarding the change- In my opinion if details are not provided it can have detrimental outcomes and the resistance is great. The importance of involving the people that are involved in the change is a crucial guideline as opposition may be reduce. Lastly, coercion can be effective only in times of crisis. If coercion is used the resistance will overcome any positive effects that the outcomes for the change will have.
Auer, Twombly, & De Vita (2011) discussed how organizations today, especially non-profits, find themselves in situations where change is necessary and never ending. This is to adhere to government regulations that are constantly changing in a sector where services are being provided to vulnerable populations. Non-profits should be able to identify that change is inevitable and if it does not occur the organization will be in danger of closing with a disruption of services to the public. Government policies and changes ensure that change management is a necessity. Organizations that can effectively manage the change will be able to have an advantage over similar organizations that provides the same services. Individuals that are being served will be provided with services to maintain a quality of life.
When non-profits embrace change as a journey, they will be able to operate on a more efficient level. This will be able to sustain the services that are being provided. Other benefits that will occur during the change process should include motivation of employees. When this occurs the employee- leadership relationship can be strengthened. This in turn, will create a resonant working environment. For organizations to maintain their mission statement and provide quality of services they would benefit from continued quality assurance, training and follow up. This may be difficult to achieve due to the lack of funding and already depleted resources available to them.
Organizations should be able to prepare the company for future growth as well as to handle changes. The growth from changes would increase and improve for an overall positive affect. Organizations must be able to identify the necessary changes with an effective approach that should be adopted. The changes must align with the culture of the organization to decrease resistance. The changes must also meet the needs of the employee’s and not go above the abilities or skills of the employees.
Implementation of a program to explain, encourage and train employees regarding the changes would benefit the organization as a whole. The program should be able to express a clear vision of the changes during the process. Communication must be open and continuous to be effective throughout the organization. If the employees are unaware of what is happening during the changes, they will begin to mistrust their organization. The organization must embrace honesty while communicating.