Kurt Lewis Change Model

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Its not the strongest of the species that survive nor the most intelligent , but the one most responsive to change. (Charles Darwin) Change management has been de?ned as ‘the process of continually renewing an organization’s direction, structure, and capabilities to serve the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers’ (Moran and Brightman, 2001) . According to Burnes (2004) change is an ever-present feature of organizational life, both at an operational and strategic level.

Therefore, there should be no doubt regarding the importance to any organization of its ability to identify where it needs to be in the future, and how to manage the changes required getting there. Consequently, organizational change cannot be separated from organizational strategy, or vice versa. Change can originate from external sources through technological advances, social, political or economic pressures, or it can come from inside the organisation as a management response to a range of issues such as changing client needs, costs or a human resource or a performance issue.

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It can affect one small area or the entire organisation. Organization change is the movement of an organization from one state of affair to another. A change in the environment often require change within the organization operating within that environment Nevertheless, all change whether from internal or external sources, large or small, involves adopting new mindsets, processes, policies, practices and behaviour. Irrespective of the way the change originates, change management is the process of taking a planned and structured approach to help align an organisation with the change.

In its most simple and effective form, change management involves working with an organisation’s stakeholder groups to help them understand what the change means for them, helping them make and sustain the transition and working to overcome any challenges involved. From a management perspective it involves the organisational and behavioural adjustments that need to be made to accommodate and sustain change without a lot of resistance as lately witnessed with Kenya Airways restructuring programme. This can only happen if the change process is well thought out and structured.

When change is introduces very rapidly and without following the tested models resistance is likely to come about. It brings a lot of inconvenience and losses when people especially employees react negatively by either disrupting work through workers industrial action or by failing to support the new initiatives which leads to wasted resources. Types of change 1. Incremental: this is the easiest of changes types. It follows identification of one or more models it’s often a product of pilot projects and involve applying the knowledge developed from them on a much larger scale. 2. Reform: this is change of moderate difficulty.

If follows recognition by stakeholders of the need for change and agreement upon some new ways of organizing. The reorganizing can be done within current power structures, but requires new rules and processes. 3. Transformation: this is the most difficult of the types of change. Stakeholders recognize that there is a need for significant change that involves basic shifts in values, beliefs, relationships, and power. But the stakeholders do not know what those shifts are, and undertake a process of exploration. Unfreezing stage Lewin’s change management model is linked to force field analysis.

He considered that, to achieve change effectively, it is necessary to look at all the options for moving from the existing present to a desired future state, and then to evaluate the possibilities of each and decide on the best one, rather than just aiming for the desired goal and taking the straightest and easiest route to it. Before a change can be implemented, it must go through the initial step of unfreezing. Because many people will naturally resist change, the goal during the unfreezing stage is to create an awareness of how the status quo, or current level of acceptability, is hindering the organization in some way.

Old behaviours, ways of thinking, processes, people and organizational structures must all be carefully examined to show employees how necessary a change is for the organization to create or maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Change cannot be change for change sake but we change because there exist compelling information about the business that needs a different approach. The unfreezing is normally done by ensuring that awareness is created by circulating the information about the planned change as widely as possible with the aim of motivating them to be receptive to change.

Moving stage Lewin recognized that change is a process where the organization must transition or move into this new state of being. This changing step, also referred to as ‘transitioning’ or ‘moving,’ is marked by the implementation of the change. This is when the change becomes real. It’s also the most difficult stage to undertake especially when the introduced change involve some negative consequences to some employee like in cases of a restructuring retrenchment or merging of department. Its during this stage that most people struggle with the new reality.

It is a time marked with uncertainty and fear, making it the hardest step to overcome. During the changing step people begin to learn the new behaviours, processes and ways of thinking. This stage require a lot of coaching and mentoring given that some of the ideas being implemented may be new. One way of moving people in business is to show how attractive the new future is – typically with motivating visions of the ‘bold new world’. However, the bold visions sometimes do not work. If they are attractive, then the mystery of resistance may well be because the transition is looking too difficult and is obscuring the enticing future.

In these cases, you can work to make things easier, especially during the early stages of beginning the transition. (http://www. change-management-consultant. com) According to the website (w. w. w. web-book. com), the moving stage should involve making use of milestones and measurements to gauge progress, a lot of communication and negotiation and a system to empower people in adapting to the change. Once people begin to see how the change is benefiting them, the company and those around them, they will begin to take ownership in the change and drive it. Refreezing stage Lewin called the final stage of his change model freezing, but many refer to it as refreezing to symbolize the act of reinforcing, stabilizing and solidifying the new state after the change. The changes made to organizational processes, goals, structure, offerings or people are accepted and refrozen as the new norm or status quo. Lewin found the refreezing step to be especially important to ensure that people do not revert back to their old ways of thinking or doing prior to the implementation of the change.

Efforts must be made to guarantee the change is not lost; rather it needs to be cemented into the organization’s culture and maintained as the acceptable way of thinking or doing. Refreezing actions include defining standards, documentation, training, processes and so on. You also need to make sure that people are not pulled back to the previous stage. Ways of doing this is ‘burning bridges’, removing any method by which people can return, or ‘scorched earth’, leaving nothing there for them to return to. http://www. change-management-consultant. com)

Conclusion. As business environment continue changing, managers must be in the fore front in advocating for change when the situations demand. Organizations that fail to embrace change are definitely setting themselves for failure. This change model will continue being a useful guide in planned change situations.


Burnes B. (2004) managing change; A strategic approach to organizational Dynamics (4th edition) Hallow: Printice Hall. Moran, J. W. and Brightman, B. K. (2001) leading organizational change: Career Development International http://www. change-management-consultant. com w. w. w. web-book. com

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Kurt Lewis Change Model. (2016, Dec 25). Retrieved from


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