unfreezing, moving, refreezing

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Is the three-stage model of change proposed by organization theorist Kurt Lewin. Although a simple idea, it captures the key stages in changing the dominant beliefs, values, and norms that are necessary to any programme of organizational change. The unfreezing stage is concerned with using techniques to show the need for change and freeing up the fixed views held by people within the organization (see mind-set). Moving is the stage where people are encouraged to accept new ideas and new ways of working. Refreezing is the process of fixing these new ideas into the minds of the employees and managers so that they form the new set of beliefs, values, and norms of the organization. The model uses the unfreezing and refreezing metaphor to emphasize that people can only be encouraged to change once the established ways of thinking and doing things have ‘melted’ and become fluid. The change agent's role (e.g. the external consultant, or the internal champion of change) is to act initially like a source of heat, turning the solid state of thinking into a fluid (thereby gaining acceptance for the change programme), and then like a source of refrigeration transforming the fluid thinking back into a newly formed solid state (refreezing).

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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