Lewin’s Three-Stage Process of Change

Cite this article as:"Lewin’s Three-Stage Process of Change," in The Business Professor, updated April 24, 2020, last accessed December 4, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/lewins-three-stage-process-of-change/.

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Lewin’s Three-Stage Process of Change

Lewin’s Three-Stage Process of change is a framework developed by psychologist Kurt Lewin. This model proposes a process for carrying out organizational change. The stages are as follows:

  • Unfreezing – The involves preparing members of the organization for the change that is to come. This includes ensuring preparedness, readiness, and receptiveness. This will include the following efforts:
    • Communicating a Plan for Change
    • Develop a sense of need and urgency for the change
    • Build a coalition in support of the change
    • Provide support for those who feel concerned.
    • Allow for participation in the change planning process.
  • Change – Here the actors effectuate the activities and processes necessary to carry out the change. To effectively carry out the specific change required in the organization (whether procedural, structural, cultural, or technological) the following are recommended:
    • Continue to Provide Support
    • Create milestones for completion or small wins along the change execution process.
    • Eliminate obstacles (processes, resources, people, attitudes, etc.) that pop up along the way.
  • Re-freezing – This is the process of ensuring that change is now a permanent par too the organization. The rules, procedures, and habits of those affected by the change have now become the organizational norm. Recommendations for successfully refreezing include:
    • Publicize Success – Share the results of change with the employees.
    • Reward Change Adoption – Try to integrate the actual changes into the reward system.
    • Embrace Continuous Change – This means adopting a culture that is more open to change in general. This is common in “learning organizations” that actively implement feedback loops on employee performance.

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