Models of Organizational Change

Topics: Change management, Leadership, Kurt Lewin Pages: 5 (1527 words) Published: August 10, 2013
Organizational Models of Change
Olympia Ross
Grand Canyon University
Organizational Development and Change
Dr. Jerry Griffin
August 14, 2013

Organizational Models of Change
Organizational change is occurring at an intense rate within modern organizations, as demands to stay current with technology and marketplace trends are ever increasing. Although knowledge exists amongst management and leadership regarding the need for change, the ability to deliver the expected results of proposed changes often fails. Recent literature actually suggests that failures are frequently attributed to the level of employee involvement and commitment, and that employees actually “play a major role in the success or failure of change within organizations” (Shin, Taylor, & Seo, 2012, p. 727).

There are various theories of organizational change, many of which have corresponding models that can be applied to change processes. Although such theories have differing strategies, most share common elements, to include a clear vision for the organization, the role of the leader in the initiative, the communication process between key stakeholders and employees, and overcoming opposition to change. That said, it is the intention of this paper to evaluate two specific models of organizational change, and to appraise how each model incorporates those common elements within their framework. Kurt Lewin: Three-Phase Change Theory and Model

Kurt Lewin proposed a three- phase change theory in the 1940’s; however, his theory, together with a corresponding change model, has major implications for modern organizational change initiatives. The three phases of the model are as follows: unfreeze-transition-freeze, and are meant as a straight forward approach to organizational change. What is more, Lewin’s model has been utilized by many well-known corporations, and has a proven track record of success. Role of the Leader in Lewin’s Model

According to Lewin, the role of the leader in implementing the three-phase process is mutifactoral, as at each phase, leadership is central. For example, during the unfreezing phase, the leader creates a sense of urgency, which is accomplished by generating awareness and understanding of the need for change. It is also during this phase that communication between the leader, key stakeholders, and employees is essential in order to reach the next phase of transition. During the transition phase, the leader is responsible for the development of organizational structure and process changes that will ultimately be shaped by new behaviors, values and attitudes ("Kurt Lewin 3 phases change theory," 2012, para. 3). Once the transition phase reaches the point of successful re-structuring, the final freeze stage must occur, and also be maintained. This is the point at which the leader must ensure that adaption to the change has crystallized, as the possibility for the organization to “revert back to old ways” ("Kurt Lewin 3 phases change theory," 2012, para. 3) exists, unless the changes are continually reinforced. Three-Phase Change Model: Overcoming Resistance

Although one may expect immediate resistance to change, this is generally not the case. In fact, during the unfreezing stage, “most staff and management are willing to change” ("Kurt Lewin 3 phases change theory," 2012, p. 4); however, there are still others that will require greater provocation. The leader’s role to resistance is in generating motivation. This is done by dismantling the status quo through educational initiatives, and the provision of tangible examples of proven success. Additionally, lines of communication must remain open, allowing for the building of a guiding coalition, and the formation of an unwavering cohesiveness. Overcoming resistance also entails the leader’s personal involvement, attention to empowerment, staying open to negotiation, and use of milestones as a means for illustrating successes. As the freezing stage...

References: Kurt Lewin 3 phase change theory universally accepted change management. (2012). Retrieved from
Lunenburg, F. (2010). Approached to managing organizational change. 1, 12, 1-10. Retrieved from,%20Fred%20C%20Approaches%20to%20Managing%20Organizational%20Change%20IJSAID%20v12%20n1%202010.pdf
Shin, J., Taylor, M. S., & Seo, M. (2012, June 1). Resources for change: the relationships of organizational inducements and psychological resilience to employee’s attitudes and behaviors toward organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 55(3), 727-748. Retrieved from
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