Change management is an important aspect of management that tries to ensure that a business responds to the environment in which it operates.
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:Disruptive, and StressfulSome common reasons why change is resisted include:
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:Structural inertia Existing power structures Resistance from work groups Failure of previous change initiatives
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:Explain the need for change Provide information Consult, negotiate and offer support and training Involve people in the process Build trust and sense of security Build employee relations
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:Employees do not understand the purpose or even the need for change Lack of planning and preparation Poor communication Employees lack the necessary skills and/ or there is insufficient training and development offered Lack of necessary resources Inadequate/inappropriate rewards