www.downloadslide.com Chapter Fifteen Organizational Change 417 EXHIBIT 15.1 Lewin’s Force Field Analysis Model Desired conditions Restraining forces Restraining forces Driving forces Current conditions Restraining forces Driving forces Driving forces Before change After change force field analysis Kurt Lewin’s model of systemwide change that helps change agents diagnose the forces that drive and restrain proposed organizational change It is easy to see environmental forces pushing companies to change. What is more difficult to see is the complex interplay of these forces on the internal dynamics of organizations. Social psychologist Kurt Lewin developed the force field analysis model to describe this process using the metaphor of a force field (see Exhibit 15.1). 4 Although it was developed more than 50 years ago, recent reviews affirm that Lewin’s force field analysis model remains one of the most widely respected ways of viewing the change process. 5 One side of the force field model represents the driving forces that push organizations toward a new state of affairs. These might include new competitors or technologies, evolving workforce expectations, or a host of other environmental changes. Corporate leaders also produce driving forces even when external forces for change aren’t apparent. For instance, some experts call for “divine discontent” as a key feature of successful organizations, meaning that leaders continually urge employees to strive for higher standards or better practices. Even when the company outshines the competition, employees believe they can do better. “We have a habit of divine discontent with our performance,” says creative agency Ogilvy & Mather about its corporate culture. “It is an antidote to smugness.” 6 The other side of Lewin’s model represents the restraining forces that maintain the status quo. These restraining forces are commonly called “resistance to change” because they appear to block the change process. Stability occurs when the driving and restraining forces are roughly in equilibrium—that is, they are of approximately equal strength in opposite directions. Lewin’s force field model emphasizes that effective change occurs by unfreezing the current situation, moving to a desired condition, and then refreezing the system so it remains in the desired state. Unfreezing involves producing disequilibrium between the driving and restraining forces. As we will describe later, this may occur by increasing the driving forces, reducing the restraining forces, or combining of both. Refreezing occurs when the organization’s systems and structures are aligned with the desired behaviors. They must support and reinforce the new role patterns and prevent the organization from slipping back unfreezing the first part of the change process, in which the change agent produces disequilibrium between the driving and restraining forces refreezing the latter part of the change process, in which systems and structures are introduced that reinforce and maintain the desired behaviors into the old way of doing things. Over the next few pages, we use Lewin’s model to understand why change is blocked and how the process can evolve more smoothly.