Change: Lewin's 3 Stage Model and McFarland's Bounce
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Lewin – 3 Stage Model
Kurt Lewin, often recognized as the ‘founder of modern social psychology,’ was one of the first to study group dynamics, action research, task interdependence, and organizational development. In the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Lewin postulated that behavior was the reaction to opposing forces (Lewin, 1948). In this theory, an organization shifts by going through three stages: unfreeze, change, and refreeze. Lewin theorized that analyzing the opposing forces can push the equilibrium into change (Behavioral Change Theory, 2007).
In the first stage, unfreeze, the organization must overcome the status quo, including individual resistance and group compliance. An organization may bring about this change by increasing the forces behind the change, decreasing the resistance influences, or a combination of the aforementioned methods (Lewin, 1948). The second step of Lewin’s Change Model is the change. This step transitions the group from the current system to the new condition. Baum states, “At some basic level, we are all resistant to change” (Baum, 2000). This resistance necessitates the continued promotion of the change and the allaying of fears. Lewin encourages leaders to continue the efforts initiated in step one (Lewin, 1948). The third step of Lewin’s Change Model is to refreeze in the new equilibrium (Lewin, 1948). In this step leaders must endeavor to prevent the organization from reverting to old ways. Individuals and organizations have a tendency to relapse into what is comfortable instead of sticking with the change (Behavioral Change Theory, 2007). Reinforcing the new patterns and rewarding those who use the new model help cement the new behaviors.
McFarland – bounce
Dean of the Pepperdine...
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