Friday 10th 13:45 – 15:30 The individual perspective in OD: Applying Lewin's concept of 'unfreezing' to today's world Hannah Azizollah, Hannah Azizollah Ltd., Rhonda Miller, Rhonda Miller Associates Maximum Capacity 24 Summary This workshop aims to build skills in helping others through the first and most critical of the 3 stages of the change process, ‘Unfreezing’, as defined by Kurt Lewin, a social psychologist, and one of the founding figures in organisation development. The model will be examined, particularly in relation to the individual, and participants will have a chance to practice some of the skills required to facilitate change within the unfreezing stage. Abstract This workshop will cover an overview of Kurt Lewin’s 3-stage change theory (unfreezing, changing, freezing) and Edgar Schein’s further development of the psychological processes that individuals need to experience within each stage, as well as recent critiques of the model. The workshop will expand on the unfreezing stage. Skill development practice will include a demonstration and a short practice session. The aim is to understand the underlying mechanisms that support successful change interventions. Our approach will be to cover the theory behind the model to enable participants to get to grips with it in a lively way. The practical exercises will bring the theory to life using coaching as the medium of engaging with individuals. We see the short workshop as a combination theory and skill building. Introduction to the Theories There are two underlying theories on which this workshop is based. Lewin’s model states that organisational change involves a move from one static state via a gradual shift, to another static state. The model, consists of a process of 1) unfreezing, 2) moving and 3) freezing. A major part of Lewin's model is the idea that psychological change is a journey rather than a simple step. He saw behavioural change as a slow process; however, he did recognize that under certain circumstances, such as a personal or organisational crisis, the forces can shift quickly and profoundly. In these situations, established behaviours break down and the status quo is no longer viable; new patterns can rapidly emerge and a new equilibrium is formed Enlarging on Lewin’s ideas, Schein indicated that the key to successful change ‘. . . was to recognise that change, whether at the individual or group level, was a profound psychological dynamic process’. (Schein, 1996) In his theory he identifies the processes necessary to successfully pass through the 3 stages of Lewin’s process. Unfreezing: Individuals needs to feel: frustrated or dissatisfied (receive disconfirming data) guilt or survival anxiety psychologically safe Moving: In order to take in and respond to new information individuals need to: redefine concepts and standards (cognitive redefinition) identify with a role model scan the environment, try out new ideas and develop new insights Freezing: To embed the new behaviours/changes, individuals need to feel that: there’s a fit between their new responses and their personality and attitudes there’s a fit between their new responses and the individuals around them Schein and the unconscious This workshop will focus on the first stage – how to turn the frustration and dissatisfaction that the status quo has been disrupted into positive behaviour change. Schein recognises that sometimes disconfirming data have existed for a long time but because of a lack of psychological safety, the individual or organisation has avoided anxiety or guilt by denying the data’s relevance, validity, or even its existence. “It is our capacity both as individuals and as organizations to deny or even repress disconfirming data that makes whistle blowing or scandals such powerful change motivators.” (Schein, 2004) . We will briefly explore the less conscious aspects of resistance through Freud’s concept of the superego to aid understanding of denial and repression of data. Conference presenters will discuss the theory behind the models, and then demonstrate a coaching session showcasing the identification of disconfirming data and addressing the issues of anxiety and psychological safety. Attendees would then have a chance to practice in small groups as consultants with facilitators acting as the coachee. Outline Agenda Theory: about the Lewin models: Lewin’s 3 stages of change, Forcefield analysis (Importance of reducing restraining forces Focus on psychological processes involved in unfreezing The role of the unconscious during change and its impact on unfreezing Skills required by change agents to help unfreezing Demonstration by facilitators using these skills Practice session with small groups of participants as consultants and facilitators as coachee Debrief Lewin, K. (1952) “Group Decisions and Social Change” in Readings in Social Psychology, New York: Henry Holt. Schein, E. (2004) Organizational Culture and Leadership. Jossey - Bass. Schein, E. (1996) "Kurt Lewin's Change Theory in the Field and in the Classroom: Notes toward a Model of Managed Learning." Systems Practice, 9: 27-47.