The Lewin change theory has three steps which are unfreezing status quo, moving beyond the status quo and towards the new setting, and refreezing the new setting such that it eventually becomes the new status quo (Kristonis, 2005). In each of these steps, there are different obstacles that lie in effectively implementing change in the work setting.
In the unfreezing stage, there are natural restraining forces that keep employees from accepting the idea of moving away from the status quo. For example, certain employees may feel that a new modernization policy will subject them to training that they either do not think is necessary or do not think they can accomplish. Thus, some of the employees may shut the idea of modernizing current systems down immediately if it was causing them sufficient fear or anxiety. After employees have accepted the idea that change is needed, next comes the difficulty of actually implementing change into place.
One problem that can be anticipated is the cognitive inability of employees to complete the necessary training for change. If for example a certain office has never used computers before, it would be difficult to start training its older employees on the use of computers. Although these people may already acknowledge the need for change, they may not necessarily have the cognitive capacity to actually undergo the necessary transformation.Given that the 2nd stage is surpassed, there is still a significant obstacle that awaits the effective implementation of change on the last stage of Lewin’s theory.
In refreezing the situation, one probable obstacle is that the benefits that were present in the previous setting may no longer be available in the current setting. Going back to the example of modernization, some employees may be so used to doing things “the old fashioned way” like typing on the typewriter instead of on the electronic word processor that even if they were taught new methods which they were able to learn, the old ways would still seem more natural for them.Although these obstacles exist, they can be overcome by prompt anticipation and appropriate action in implementing positive and lasting change to a work environment.ReferenceKristonis, A.
(2005). “Comparison of Change Theories.” International Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity. Vol.
8 No. 1.