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4.16: Managing Change- Lewin’s Model

  • Page ID
    32688
    • Digital Education Strategies
    • The Chang School

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    Kurt Lewin developed a change model involving three steps: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. The model represents a very simple and practical model for understanding the change process. For Lewin, the process of change entails creating the perception that a change is needed, then moving toward the new, desired level of behaviour and, finally, solidifying that new behaviour as the norm. The model is still widely used and serves as the basis for many modern change models.

    Video: Lewin’s Change Management Model: Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze Theory

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    Unfreezing

    In the initial phase of investigating digital accessibility, you have been building awareness through the creation of the accessibility committee, and you have been investigating what aspect of the company’s processes and human resources need to be adjusted. Hanging posters in the lunch room, elevators, and bathrooms, and the accessibility section in the monthly newsletter is raising awareness across the company, ahead of the retraining that is being planned.

    You have also been practicing strategies for convincing staff at various levels that accessibility is a good thing for everyone, particularly those in senior positions, so that they understand the business, social, and economic aspects of accessibility. You have prepared yourself for resistance to the changes coming as part of the company’s move toward becoming an inclusive organization.

    Changing

    Based on your knowledge of the Sharp Clothing Company’s workforce, you have a series of short workshops planned that will help staff in various positions learn about their responsibilities to produce accessible products and deliver accessible customer service and introduce them to the tools to help them accomplish these.

    To help standardize the processes, the accessibility committee has developed the guidelines for web developers, web content developers, and document authors and producers, so it is clear what steps must be taken in order to ensure they are producing products and services that will be accessible to everyone. The training being planned uses these guidelines as a framework for instruction, with staff receiving hands-on experience with the tools and processes associated with their jobs , and they have a reference they can continue to use and refer to until they have mastered the tasks and strategies they were taught.

    Refreezing

    To ensure that attention to accessibility remains high, the company newsletter will continue to highlight particular accessibility accomplishments by staff, and present various accessibility tips and interesting bits of knowledge to keep awareness high.

    The yearly contest for the best accessibility implementation will also help keep awareness high, publicizing ongoing efforts, and giving people throughout the company the opportunity to vote on who should receive the “Spa Weekend for Two.”

    The plan is to hire on a screen reader user to help with accessibility testing, to be a member of the accessibility committee, to work day-to-day with the staff at head office, and to help keep awareness high.

    Having an employee who is blind will also help other staff members become accustomed to people with disabilities, and become more aware of barriers that may prevent some people from participating fully.

    Try This: Knowing that most people will resist change for a variety of reasons, let’s watch a brief clip from a popular TV show Big Bang Theory which demonstrates how some people react to change.

    Video: BigBang Theory – Comida china sin Howard (The Dumpling Paradox)

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    Questions to think about:

    • Have you ever encountered a situation similar to this? If so, how did you handle it?
    • Do you often find yourself as the waiter, trying to offer suggestions to move things along? Were your ideas well received or implemented?
    • What if you had to manage someone like Sheldon?

    Identifying Forces For and Against Change

    Reflecting back to the “Dumpling Paradox” video clip, here are some of their reasons for wanting to order dinner:

    • They were hungry.
    • They were familiar with this restaurant.
    • They had past experience knowing what to order.

    Yet, there were equally compelling arguments presented for not ordering their regular items:

    • Needing to now order for three persons rather than four.
    • Their regular menu choices would now lead to too much food to split three ways.
    • Too much food overall for them to enjoy.

    What we have just done is to conduct a Force Field analysis, a key process of the Kurt Lewin Change Model. It helps you identify the compelling reasons for change and those “forces” which will oppose change. This is a common first step many change leaders use to assess a situation before introducing something new. You can learn more about the process from Change Management Coach.

    Force Field Exercise

    As a personal exercise to understand a force field analysis, complete the columns below to identify the driving forces and restraining forces as to why you might consider joining a local gym. An example of how to identify the force field will be provided later in this section.

    Force Field Example – Should I join a local gym?

    Driving Forces Restraining Forces

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