Unfreezing changing and refreezing process

Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze, was a model of change management proposed by Kurt Lewin. This is a model of Change Management, important for managing change within an organization. According to Kurt Lewin’s model of change which has 3 phases of change management and so many advantages and disadvantages, has been covered in this article for Unfreezing changing and refreezing process.

First, you must melt the ice in form of an organization (unfreeze). That’s where the process of unfreezing takes place. Then the next step is to ensure iced water turns into the shape you want (change). Then finally the last stage of change is to initiate a new shape (refreeze).

Unfreeze, change refreeze example

What are the three stages of Lewin’s Change Management Model? These are the stages of change management explained below according to Kurt Lewin.

Kurt Lewin’s change model has three steps (unfreezing → changing → refreezing) its the fundamental approach to managing change within the organization. There are so many perspectives to change, but Kurt Lewin’s model further outlined more advantages and that change must be melted (Unfreeze), this important stage that helps managers to pour it into a mold (Change) state and then freeze again in the new shape also called (Refreeze).

3 phases of change management

Unfreezing changing and refreezing process
Unfreezing changing and refreezing process

1. Refreezing stage of organizational change

Refreezing is the stage of fixing new methods of doing things. It’s a process of transitioning from the old accepted systems, that had become part of people and organization. Structures have people, values, and behaviours that might not accept the change process, hence the need to first unfreeze them. A good example of unfreezing in change management is closely related to a solid ice block.

It’s impossible to change the shape of a solid element (Organization). Therefore one needs to first change the solid state to a liquid, then into another shape. Unfreezing involves changing to the new set of beliefs, values, and norms of the organization.

2. Change stage of organizational change

The second stage of change management is called the Change stage. It’s a critical stage at which the process of change is initiated. Imagine a liquid that was unfrozen in the first stage of unfreezing, now been transitioned and converted to new ways of doing things in the organization.

Examples of changes include transitioning the company’s organizational structure, business systems, marketing strategies, practices, staffing or employees, and also other very important areas determined to improve the organization’s competitive advantage and market standing.

Changes can be small, or large but it’s an important systematic process of diagnosing, rediagnosing, changing, and observing the process. Change improves the needs of the company, changes must be carefully calculated, analyzed, and properly determined before implementation.

3. Refreezing Stage of organizational change

The Refreeze stage (also sometimes called “Freeze”), involves making changes to the second stage in which everything is normalized in the organization. This process is observed to be one that is very slow, depending on the scale, size of the organization, and type of organization, the changes being made, can take a long for employees in the company to get used to new practices and accept the newly introduced culture.

Organizations are observed to be constantly changing, hence the 3 phases of change management Refreeze, Change and Unfreeze, must be properly followed, for change to be completely successful without executing the Unfreezing changing and refreezing process in the organization its impossible for change to take effect.

Also Read: Types of change management

However, the refreezing stage is very important for getting the changes to last, it ensures that employees are able to deal with changes efficiently and accept the proposed changes. At this vital stage, people accept new ways of working or change the management process, making it part of their life and why it’s important to the organization.

Why is unfreezing important?

The importance and goal of the unfreezing stage are to create an awareness of how the organization has been operating. It outlines the challenges, driving forces for change, setbacks, strategy, and opportunities the functional organization should have utilized. Unfreezing helps the organization to know about the importance of change and why it’s necessary and urgent for the well-being of the organization.

Conclusion: The Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze model was created by social psychologist Kurt Lewin, who developed the change model as an important tool that explains how change should be implemented in the organization. Kurt Lewin’s background in physics inspired this ideology and hence made it more important, especially in Public administration, and management also being both science and art. He used the ice block metaphor to explain unfreezing changing and refreezing process.

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