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All change involves some kind of loss. Even if one approves of a change and recognise that it is beneficial, there are often aspects of a current situation that most regret having to give up. For a start, there is the familiarity of a known location, colleagues or work practices…
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Download file to see previous pages... How easy is it for people to give up their belief in their own competence Sometimes the need for learning new skills is recognised formally by an organisation when it builds training events into the change programme. Change affects people in different ways, but management experts tend to agree that people go through similar stages in order to come to terms with change. From this transition from resistance to acceptance of change to move into the desired future situation would depend mainly on tow factors, available resources and the willingness to change. Some theories cane be of help to assess this.
Lewin's (1951) model of change is one of the most frequently used and easily understood approaches to planning and implementing change in organizations. Many people have added their own elaborations to this model, but its basic ideas remain the same. The basic elements of Lewin's change model are unfreezing, change, and refreezing. Assuming that a work situation is basically stable before change is introduced, although some changes occur naturally, people tend to stay in the "comfort zone" meaning they are generally accustomed to each other, have a routine for doing their work, and are pretty confident that they know what to expect and how to deal with whatever problems may arise in the course of a day (Lewin, 1951, 1-23). A change of any magnitude is likely to move people out of this comfort zone into discomfort. Lewin calls this movement unfreezing. People resist change for a variety of reasons, which vary from person to person and situation to situation. Some are ready to risk change, and others seem to prefer maintaining the status quo. One change in routine provokes a storm of protest, whereas another change is hardly noticed. Resistance to change comes from three major sources: technical concerns, psychosocial needs, and threats to a person's position and power (Lewin, 1951, 35-41).
Lewin suggested a way of looking at the overall process of making changes. He proposed that organizational changes have three steps. The first step involves unfreezing the current state of affairs. This means defining the current state, surfacing the driving and resisting forces and picturing a desired end-state. The second is about moving to a new state through participation and involvement (Lewin, 1951, 45-53). The third focuses on refreezing and stabilizing the new state of affairs by setting policy, rewarding success and establishing new standards. Lewin's three-step model uses the organism metaphor of organizations, which includes the notion of homeostasis. This is the tendency of an organization to maintain its equilibrium in response to disrupting changes. This means that any organization has a natural tendency to adjust itself back to its original steady state (Lewin, 1951, 57-78). Lewin argued that a new state of equilibrium has to be intentionally moved towards, and then strongly established, so that a change will persist. Lewin's model was designed to enable a process consultant to take a group of people through the unfreeze, move, and refreeze stages. For example, if a team of people began to see the need to radically alter their recruitment process, the consultant would work with the team to surface the issues, move to the desired new state and reinforce that new state (Lewin, 1951, 85-99).
Lewin's ideas provide a useful tool for those considering organizational ch ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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