Thursday, December 13, 2018

'Planned Approach to Change Essay\r'

'The bailiwick of Kurt Lewin dominated the theory and practice of flip-flop perplexity for over 40 twelvemonths. However, in the past 20 years, Lewin’s approach to transform, particularly the 3-Step model, has attracted know guidege criticisms. The light upon ones argon that his spiel: assumed organizations ope come out in a stable state; was just now preferable for pocket-sized stir projects; ignored organisational cater and politics; and was top-down and management-driven. This word seeks to re-appraise Lewin’s cut back and ch eitherenge the validity of these suasions. It begins by describing Lewin’s mise en scene and dogmas, especially his commitment to resolving social mulctflict.\r\nThe oblige accordingly moves on to examine the important elements of his mean approach to qualify: report possible movement; crowd Dynamics; execute seek; and the 3-Step model. This is followed by a brief summary of the major developments in t he fi age of organizational interpolate since Lewin’s finis which, in turn, leads to an examination of the main criticisms levelled at Lewin’s sue. The article adocludes by arguing that sort of than cosmos stunneddated or redundant, Lewin’s approach is electrostatic relevant to the modern world.\r\nINTRODUCTION\r\nFreud the clinician and Lewin the experimentalist †these are the 2 men whose names will stand out before all other(a)s in the history of our mental era. The above quotation is taken from Edward C Tolman’s memorial address for Kurt Lewin delivered at the 1947 Convention of the American Psychological Association (quoted in Marrow, 1969, p. ix). To many tidy sum today it will seem strange that Lewin should takesume been prone equal chargement with Freud. Some 50 years afterwards his death, Lewin is now mainly remembered as the originator of the 3-Step model of substitute\r\nUSA.\r\nAddress for reprints: Bernard Burnes, M anchester initiate of Management, UMIST, Manchester M60 1QD, UK ( as outdated (Burnes, 2000; Dawson, 1994; twist and Goldberg, 1999; Hatch, 1997; Kanter et al., 1992; Marshak, 1993). Yet, as this article will argue, his contri simplyion to our viewing of individual and collection conduct and the mapping these play in organizations and golf club was enormous and is still relevant. In today’s turbulent and changing world, one mightiness pack Lewin’s pioneering lock on qualify to be seized upon with gratitude, especially given the high failure rate of many heighten programmes (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2001; Kearney, 1989; Kotter, 1996; Stickland, 1998; Waclawski, 2002; Wastell et al., 1994; Watcher, 1993; Whyte and Watcher, 1992; Zairi et al., 1994).\r\nUnfortunately, his commitment to extending democratic determine in society and his realise on cogitation surmisal, Group Dynamics and implement Research which, unitedl y with his 3-Step model, formed an inter-linked, elaborate and robust approach to plan change, have true less and less anxiety (Ash, 1992; Bargal et al., 1992; Cooke, 1999). Indeed, from the 1980s, redden Lewin’s scat on change was increasingly criticized as relevant only to small-scale changes in stable conditions, and for ignoring issues such as organizational politics and conflict. In its place, writers sought to set up a get wind of change as macrocosm constant, and as a political process in spite of appearance organizations (Dawson, 1994; Pettigrew et al., 1992; Wilson, 1992).\r\nThe purpose of this article is to re-appraise Lewin and his work.. The article begins by describing Lewin’s background, especially the origins of his commitment to resolving social conflict. It then moves on to examine the main elements of his Planned approach to change. This is followed by a description of developments in the fi days of organizational change sinc e Lewin’s death, and an military rank of the criticisms levelled against his work. The article concludes by arguing that rather than cosmos outdated, Lewin’s Planned approach is still rattling relevant to the needs of the modern world.\r\nLEWIN’S soil\r\nFew social scientists can have received the level of praise and admiration that has been heaped upon Kurt Lewin (Ash, 1992; Bargal et al., 1992; Dent and Goldberg, 1999; demon and Watkins, 1999; Tobach, 1994). As Edgar Schein (1988, p. 239) enthusiastically commented:\r\nThere is little heading that the intellectual father of contemporary theories of applied behavioral science, action explore and planned change is Kurt Lewin. His germinal work on lead style and the experiments on planned change which took place in human race War II in an effort to change consumer behavior launched a alone generation of research in base dynamics and the implementation of change programs. 978 B. Burnes\r\n© Blackw ell produce Ltd 2004For almost of his life, Lewin’s main engrossment was the resolution of social con- flict and, in particular, the problems of minority or disadvantaged sorts. Underpinning this preoccupation was a strong belief that only the permeation of democratic prys into all facets of society could prevent the worst extremes of social conflict. As his wife wrote in the Preface to a volume of his collected work published after his death:\r\nKurt Lewin was so constantly and predominantly preoccupy with the task of advancing the sentimentual representation of the social-psychological world, and at the same time he was so filled with the pressing desire to use his theoretical insight for the expression of a better world, that it is difficult to decide which of these 2 sources of demand flowed with greater energy or vigour. (Lewin, 1948b)\r\nTo a large extent, his interests and beliefs stemmed from his background as a German Jew. Lewin was bo rn in 1890 and, for a Jew festering up in Germany, at this time, officially-approved anti-Semitism was a fact of life. Few Jews could expect to achieve a responsible post in the civil benefit or universities. Despite this, Lewin was awarded a doctorate at the University of Berlin in 1916 and went on to teach there. Though he was never awarded tenured status, Lewin achieved a growing foreign reputation in the 1920s as a leader in his field (Lewin, 1992). However, with the rise of the national socialist Party, Lewin sleep withd that the position of Jews in Germany was increasingly threatened. The option of Hitler as Chancellor in 1933 was the final straw for him; he resigned from the University and moved to America (Marrow, 1969).\r\nIn America, Lewin found a job first as a ‘refugee scholar’ at Cornell University and then, from 1935 to 1945, at the University of Iowa. Here he was to embark on an ambitious programme of research which covered topics su ch as child-parent relations, conflict in marriage, styles of leadinghip, worker motivation and performance, conflict in industry, sort problem-solving, communication and spatial relation change, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-racism, discrimination and prejudice, integration-segregation, peace, war and poverty (Bargal et al., 1992; Cartwright, 1952; Lewin, 1948a). As Cooke (1999) nones, given the prevalence of racism and antiSemitism in America at the time, very oft of this work, especially his increasingly public protagonism in support of disadvantaged ag throngs, put Lewin on the political left.\r\nDuring the years of the Second World War, Lewin did practically work for the American war effort. This included studies of the team spirit of front-line troops and psychological warfare, and his famous study designed at persuading American housewives to buy cheaper cuts of meat (Lewin, 1943a; Marrow, 1969). He was excessively much in demand as a speaker on minority an d inter-group relations Kurt Lewin 979\r\n© Blackwell create Ltd 2004(Smith, 2001). These activities chimed with one of his central preoccupations, which was how Germany’s authoritarian and racial culture could be replaced with one imbued with democratic nurses. He saw democracy, and the spread of democratic values passim society, as the central bastion against authoritarianism and despotism. That he viewed the establishment of democracy as a major task, and avoided simplistic and structural recipes, can be gleaned from the following(a) extracts from his article on ‘The special case of Germany’ (Lewin, 1943b):\r\nNazi culture . . . is deeply rooted, particularly in the youth on whom the . . . future depends. It is a culture which is centred around power as the supreme value and which denounces justness and equality . . . (p. 43) To be stable, a cultural change has to penetrate all aspects of a nation’s life. The change must(prenominal), in shor t, be a change in the ‘cultural atmosphere,’ not merely a change of a single item. (p. 46)\r\nChange in culture requires the change of leadership forms in every(prenominal) walk of life. At the start, particularly important is leadership in those social areas which are fundamental from the bakshis of view of power. (p. 55)\r\nWith the end of the War, Lewin established the Research centralise for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts form of Technology. The aim of the Center was to investigate all aspects of group behaviour, especially how it could be changed. At the same time, he was to a fault chief architect of the Commission on Community Interrelations (CCI). Founded and funded by the American Jewish Congress, its aim was the eradication of discrimination against all minority groups. As Lewin wrote at the time, ‘We Jews will have to fight for ourselves and we will do so strongly and with good conscience. We also live on that the fight of the Jews is part of the fight of all minorities for democratic equality of rights and opportunities . . .’ (quoted in Marrow, 1969, p. 175). In pursuing this objective, Lewin believed that his work on Group Dynamics and satisfy Research would provide the central tools for the CCI.\r\nLewin was also influential in establishing the Tavistock Institute in the UK and its Journal, Human Relations ( Jaques, 1998; Marrow, 1969). In addition, in 1946, the computed axial tomography State Inter-Racial Commission asked Lewin to help train leaders and conduct research on the most effectual means of combating racial and religious prejudice in communities. This led to the development of sensitivity training and the creation, in 1947, of the now famous National Training Laboratories. However, his colossal workload took its toll on his health, and on 11 February 1947 he died of a heart attack (Lewin, 1992).\r\n980 B. Burnes\r\n© Blackwell produce Ltd 2004LEWIN’S WORK\r\nLewin wa s a humanitarian who believed that only by resolving social conflict, whether it be religious, racial, marital or industrial, could the human condition be improved. Lewin believed that the key to resolving social conflict was to assuage learning and so enable individuals to understand and structure their perceptions of the world around them. In this he was much influenced by the Gestalt psychologists he had worked with in Berlin (Smith, 2001). A unifying theme of much of his work is the view that ‘. . . the group to which an individual belongs is the ground for his perceptions, his feelings and his actions’ (Allport, 1948, p. vii).\r\nThough knit stitch conjecture, Group Dynamics, Action Research and the 3-Step model of change are often treated as break themes of his work, Lewin saw them as a unified whole with each element supporting and reinforcing the others and all of them undeniable to understand and bring most Planned change, whether it b e at the level of the individual, group, organization or even society (Bargal and Bar, 1992; Kippenberger, 1998a, 1998b; Smith, 2001). As Allport (1948, p. ix) states: ‘All of his concepts, whatever root-metaphor they employ, lay out a single wellintegrated system’. This can be seen from examining these four aspects of his work in turn.\r\nField Theory\r\nThis is an approach to arrest group behaviour by attempt to role out the totality and complicatedness of the field in which the behaviour takes place (Back, 1992). Lewin keep that to understand any business office it was necessary that: ‘ champion should view the present placement †the status quo †as being maintained by certain conditions or forces’ (Lewin, 1943a, p. 172). Lewin (1947b) postulated that group behaviour is an intricate set of emblematical interactions and forces that not only affect group structures, notwithstanding also modify individual behaviour. Therefore, individ ual behaviour is a function of the group environment or ‘field’, as he termed it. Consequently, any changes in behaviour stem from changes, be they small or large, in the forces within the field (Lewin, 1947a).\r\nLewin defined a field as ‘a totality of coexisting facts which are conceived of as mutually interdependent . . .’ (Lewin, 1946, p. 240). Lewin believed that a field was in a continuous state of fitting and that ‘Change and constancy are relative concepts; group life is never without change, merely differences in the substance and type of change exist’ (Lewin, 1947a, p. 199). This is why Lewin utilise the term ‘quasi-stationary equilibrium’ to indicate that whilst there might be a rhythm and pattern to the behaviour and processes of a group, these tended to fluctuate constantly owing to changes in the forces or circumstances that impinge on the group.\r\nLewin’s view was that if one could identify, plot and establish the potency of these forces, then it would be possible not only to understand why individuals, Kurt Lewin 981 © Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004groups and organizations act as they do, but also what forces would need to be diminished or strengthened in order to bring astir(predicate) change. In the main, Lewin saw behavioural change as a slow process; however, he did recognize that under certain circumstances, such as a personal, organizational or societal crisis, the various forces in the field can shift quickly and radically. In such situations, established routines and behaviours break down and the status quo is no longer viable; unsanded patterns of exertion can rapidly emerge and a new equilibrium (or quasistationary equilibrium) is formed (Kippenberger, 1998a; Lewin, 1947a). Despite its obvious value as a vehicle for understanding and changing group behaviour, with Lewin’s death, the general interest in Field Theory waned (Back, 1992 ; Gold, 1992; Hendry, 1996).\r\nHowever, in recent years, with the work of Argyris (1990) and Hirschhorn (1988) on understanding and overcoming resistance to change, Lewin’s work on Field Theory has once again begun to attract interest. According to Hendry (1996), even critics of Lewin’s work have drawn on Field Theory to develop their own models of change (see Pettigrew et al., 1989, 1992). Indeed, parallels have even been drawn between Lewin’s work and the work of complexity theorists (Kippenberger, 1998a). Back (1992), for example, argued that the formulation and behaviour of complex systems as described by Chaos and mishap theorists bear striking similarities to Lewin’s conceptualization of Field Theory. Nevertheless, Field Theory is now probably the least understood element of Lewin’s work, yet, because of its potential to map the forces impinging on an individual, group or organization, it underpinned the other elements of his work.\r\nGroup Dynamics\r\nthe word ‘dynamics’ . . . comes from a Greek word meaning force . . . ‘group . . . dynamics’ refers to the forces operating in groups . . . it is a study of these forces: what gives rise to them, what conditions modify them, what consequences they have, etc. (Cartwright, 1951, p. 382)\r\nLewin was the first psychologist to write about ‘group dynamics’ and the importance of the group in shaping the behaviour of its members (Allport, 1948; Bargal et al., 1992). Indeed, Lewin’s (1939, p. 165) definition of a ‘group’ is still generally accepted: ‘. . . it is not the comparison or dissimilarity of individuals that constitutes a group, but interdependence of fate’. As Kippenberger (1998a) notes, Lewin was addressing two questions: What is it about the nature and characteristics of a particular group which causes it to respond (behave) as it does to the forces which impinge on it, and how can th ese forces be changed in order to elicit a much desirable form of behaviour? It was to address these questions that Lewin began to develop the concept of Group Dynamics.\r\nGroup Dynamics stresses that group behaviour, rather than that of individuals, should be the main nidus of change (Bernstein, 1968; Dent and Goldberg, 1999). Lewin (1947b) maintained that it is fruitless to concentre on changing the behaviour of individuals because the individual in isolation is constrain by group pressures to conform. Consequently, the focus of change must be at the group level and should concentrate on factors such as group norms, roles, interactions and socializing processes to create ‘disequilibrium’ and change (Schein, 1988).\r\nLewin’s pioneering work on Group Dynamics not only located the foundations for our understanding of groups (Cooke, 1999; Dent and Goldberg, 1999; french and Bell, 1984; Marrow, 1969; Schein, 1988) but has also been linked to complexity theo ries by researchers examining self-organizing theory and non-linear systems (Tschacher and Brunner, 1995). However, understanding the internal dynamics of a group is not sufficient by itself to bring about change. Lewin also accept the need to provide a process whereby the members could be engaged in and committed to changing their behaviour. This led Lewin to develop Action Research and the 3-Step model of change.\r\nAction Research\r\nThis term was coined by Lewin (1946) in an article entitled ‘Action research and minority problems’. Lewin state in the article:\r\nIn the last year and a half I have had condition to have contact with a great vicissitude of organizations, institutions, and individuals who came for help in the field of group relations. (Lewin, 1946, p. 201)\r\nHowever, though these people exhibited . . . a great amount of good-will, of adroitness to face the problem squarely and . . . really do something about it . . . These eager people fee l themselves to be in a fog. They feel in a fog on three counts: 1. What is the present situation? 2. What are the dangers? 3. And most importantly of all, what shall we do? (Lewin, 1946, p. 201)\r\nLewin conceived of Action Research as a two-pronged process which would intromit groups to address these three questions. Firstly, it emphasizes that change requires action, and is directed at achieving this. Secondly, it recognizes that successful action is based on analysing the situation correctly, identifying all the possible alternative solutions and choosing the one most appropriate to the situation at hand (Bennett, 1983). To be successful, though, there has also to be a ‘felt-need’. FeltKurt Lewin 983 © Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004need is an individual’s inner realization that change is necessary. If felt-need is low in the group or organization, introducing change becomes problematic. The theoretical foundations of Action Research lie in Gestalt psycholo gy, which stresses that change can only successfully be achieved by helping individuals to reflect on and gain new insights into the totality of their situation.\r\nLewin (1946, p. 206) stated that Action Research ‘. . . proceeds in a whirl of steps each of which is composed of a gird of planning, action, and fact-finding about the results of the action.’ It is an iterative process whereby research leads to action and action leads to evaluation and further research. As Schein (1996, p. 64) comments, it was Lewin’s view that ‘. . . one cannot understand an organization without trying to change it . . .’ Indeed, Lewin’s view was very much that the understanding and learning which this process produces for the individuals and groups concerned, which then feeds into changed behaviour, is more important than any resulting change as such (Lewin, 1946).\r\nTo this end, Action Research draws on Lewin’s work on Field Theory to identif y the forces that focus on the group to which the individual belongs. It also draws on Group Dynamics to understand why group members behave in the way they do when subjected to these forces. Lewin unhappy that the routines and patterns of behaviour in a group are more than just the outcome of opposing forces in a forcefield. They have a value in themselves and have a positive role to play in enforcing group norms (Lewin, 1947a). Action Research stresses that for change to be effective, it must take place at the group level, and must be a participative and collaborative process which involves all of those concerned (Allport, 1948; Bargal et al., 1992; French and Bell, 1984; Lewin, 1947b).\r\n'

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