What is Lewin’s Change Management Model?

Lewin’s Change Management Model is a framework for overseeing and putting change into practice in an organisation.

Kurt Lewin, a psychologist, created the model in the 1940s, and it is still one of the most popular ones for change management today.

Need for Change in Organisations

Change is a necessary process, no matter how big or small the business. Especially in a technological sense, the world is undergoing rapid change. Therefore, organisations must adapt creatively to change because successful businesses successfully manage change, whereas unsuccessful ones struggle to survive. For most businesses, the concept of change management is not new. However, depending on the type of business and the stakeholders involved, their approaches to responding to the change differ significantly. The extent to which the parties involved understand the change process will play a significant role.

Change in an organisation does not have to be a difficult process. Kurt Lewin achieved it in only three stages. Lewin devised a three-step change model: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. The model is a straightforward and practical approach to comprehending the transformation process.

According to Lewin, the process of change includes first establishing the idea that a change is required, then advancing toward the new, desired level of conduct, and lastly cementing that new behaviour as the norm. The model is still extensively used today, and many current change models are based on it.

History of Lewin’s Change Management Model

The influence Kurt Lewin had on social psychology is well known. He developed a theory of change management after conducting extensive research on the idea of human changes. Three tiers of efficient change implementation are described in his change model.

His group dynamics theory, the “theory of planned behaviour, ” was published in the 1950s and received immense popularity during the following decades. Lewin’s initial model was published in the 1950s. The model was then used by business and social organizations to understand their employees’ dynamics and predict the effectiveness of new programs that would be introduced. Many organisations have used the model over the years to understand the dynamics of people’s behaviour.

Organizational and individual change, according to Lewin, are challenging processes that require several transitions and potential misunderstandings before reaching an agreement. The interdependence of various organisational units and subunits is emphasised by Lewin’s model. He assumed that organisations function under fixed conditions and change systematically from one stable state to another. This artwork exemplifies a straightforward and useful method of understanding the change process.

According to Lewin, the change process entails believing that change is necessary, moving toward the desired level and ultimately making the new behaviour the norm.

Three stages of Lewin’s Change Management Model?

The three stages of Lewin’s Change Management Model are unfreezing, changing and refreezing. These are explained below:


Defrosting or melting a frozen meal is required before it can be cooked. Change is a good example of this. Before a modification can be made, it must first go through the unfreezing process. Because many individuals are inherently resistant to change, the unfreezing stage aims to raise awareness of how the status quo, or present level of acceptability, is causing problems for the company.

Old habits, ways of thinking, processes, people, and organizational structures must all be thoroughly reviewed to demonstrate to workers the importance of change in order for the company to gain or retain a competitive edge in the marketplace.


People can begin to move now that they have been ‘unfrozen.’ Change, according to Lewin, is a process in which an organization must transition or shift into a new state of being. The execution of the modification marks this altering phase, which is also known as ‘transitioning’ or moving.’

This is when the transformation takes place. As a result, it’s also the period when most individuals are grappling with the new reality. It’s a period of uncertainty and dread, making it the most difficult move to take. People begin to acquire new habits, procedures, and ways of thinking during the shifting phase. It will be easier to fulfil this stage if they are well prepared.


The last step of Lewin’s change model is known as refreezing, and it represents the act of reinforcing, stabilising, and cementing the new condition following the shift. Changes to corporate procedures, objectives, structure, offers, or personnel are approved and refrozen as the new standard.

The refreezing stage, according to Lewin, is particularly crucial for ensuring that people do not revert to their previous patterns of thinking or acting before the change is implemented. Efforts must be taken to ensure that the change is not lost; rather, it must be ingrained in the company’s culture and preserved as an acceptable way of thinking or acting.

What is the difference between Lewin’s model and Kotter’s model?

The impacts of factors that either aid or impede change are depicted in Lewin’s model. The model aids in visualizing the intensity of competing forces that may impact your concept for change, as well as determining when forces supporting change outnumber those opposing it. The model, on the other hand, ignores the human component. Furthermore, a thorough study of forces necessitates the participation of all personnel, which is not always possible.

Whereas, Kotter’s approach is more detailed, which works to his benefit because it lays out distinct stages that can help with the transition process. However, because of the method’s rigidity, steps cannot be bypassed, and the process might take a long time to complete.

Limitations of Lewin’s Change Management Model

Utilising Lewin’s Change Management Model may present several difficulties, including:

  • The process of unfreezing, changing, and refreezing that the model entails can be time-consuming, especially for large organisations.
  • It may not be appropriate for all change initiatives, such as those that call for a more radical or disruptive approach, even though the model can be effective in many situations.
  • Strong leadership is necessary because the model depends on it to instill a sense of urgency and commitment in the change process. Without strong leadership, the change initiative might have trouble taking off.


Lewin’s Change Model was created to deal with major organisational change within a large-scale company, typically in response to economic conditions, technological changes, government regulation, or external or internal disruption. The model provides a framework to understand and anticipate changes within a firm. It is based on the premise that the environment around the organization and society will never be static, so any company should have the ability to identify future change and to deal with the uncertainty it poses.

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Hi, My name is Kartik. I have expertise in Technical and Social Domains. I love to write articles that could benefit people and the community.

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