What is Lewin’s Change Management Model?

Lewin’s Change Management Model

Change in an organisation does not have to be a difficult process. Kurt Lewin, in fact, achieved it in only three stages.

The Lewin model is a conceptual framework that applies to the change process. While the model is most frequently associated with workplace change management, it can also be applied to the change process in general.
Kurt 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 model was created by Kurt Lewin, a German-American psychologist and one of the founders of social psychology, in the 1950s. His theory of group dynamics, called 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 the dynamics of their employees and to predict the effectiveness of new programs that would be introduced. The model has been used over the years by many organizations to understand the dynamics of people’s behaviour.

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 objective of the unfreezing stage is 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 culture of the company and preserved as an acceptable way of thinking or acting.

lewin's change management model
What is Lewin's Change Management Model? 1

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.


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 some other external or even 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 that any company should have an ability to identify future change and to deal with the uncertainty it poses.

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