Unfreezing, Moving, Refreezing

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Description of Unfreezing, Moving, Refreezing. Explanation.

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Definition Unfreezing, Moving, Refreezing. Description.


How and under what circumstances do organizations change? The Unfreezing, Moving, Refreezing model is an early three-stage approach for change that was proposed by German-born American psychologist Kurt Lewin (1951) to overcome inertia and dismantle existing beliefs, values and norms. The model mentioned three key stages in changing an organization:

  1. Unfreezing Stage. In the first phase, inertia has to be overcome and the existing “mind set” of employees has to be dismantled. Moreover, defense mechanisms have to be bypassed. The goal of this phase is to strengthen the awareness for the need of change. Show the need for change, and open the minds of people for the change. Overcome inertia, dismantle the existing "mind set", and bypass defense mechanisms.

  2. Moving Stage. The second phase is typically a period of confusion. Solutions are developed and problems are solved. The organization leaves the status-quo and is moving towards a new equilibrium. This is where the actual change occurs. In a period of confusion, people are encouraged to accept new ideas and new ways of working.

  3. Refreezing Stage. In the third and final phase, the new mindset is crystallizing and one’s comfort level is returning to previous levels before the change. It is the process of crystallizing the new ideas and ways of working in the minds of the employees and managers.

The three step model by Lewin emphasizes that people can only be changed once established ways of thinking and working have melted and have become fluid.


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Compare with: Force Field Analysis  |  Appreciative Inquiry  |  Change Approaches  |  Change Equation  |  Change Phases  |  Growth Phases  |  Changing Organization Cultures  |  Culture Types  |  Dimensions of Change  |  Forget Borrow Learn  |  Kaizen  |  Theory of Constraints

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