Change management is an important aspect of management that tries to ensure that a business responds to the environment in which it operates. Remember that:
Many factors drive change in a business. In his model Lewin identified four forces which are described below.
In Lewin's model there are forces driving change and forces restraining it. Where there is equilibrium between the two sets of forces there will be no change. In order for change to occur the driving force must exceed the restraining force.
Lewin's analysis can be used to:
Forces for change include:
Internal forces for change (from within the business or organisation)
External forces for change (outside the control of the business / organisation)
There are many of these, including
You might conclude from the list of internal and external factors above that the main pressure for change in a business is usually external. A business has to be prepared to face the demands of a changing external environment.
Restraining forces (making change harder)
Despite the potential positive outcomes, change is nearly always resisted. A degree of resistance is normal since change is:
Parochial self interest
Individuals are concerned with the implications for themselves; their view is often biased by their perception of a particular situation
Misunderstanding of the need for or purpose of change
Low tolerance of change
Different assessment of the situation
Fear of the unknown
Many of the potential restraining forces listed above are personal to an organisation's employees.
There may also be overall organisational barriers to change, including:
Change can also resisted because of the poor way in which change is managed!
For example, a failure by management responsible for the change to:
As a result of change resistance and poorly managed change projects, many of them ultimately fail to achieve their objectives. Amongst the reasons commonly associated with failed change programmes are: