Kurt Lewin Model of Change

Kurt Lewin Model of Change

Aug 01, 2022

The first stage he called "unfreezing". In the second stage the change occurs. This is typically a period of confusion and transition.  The third and final stage he called "freezing" in which the new mindset is anchored and comfort levels return to previous levels.


The Unfreezing stage involves getting to a point of understanding that change is necessary, and getting ready to move away from the current comfort zone.

Unfreezing and getting motivated for the change is all about weighing up the 'pro's' and 'con's' and deciding if the 'pro's' outnumber the 'con's' before any action is taken. This is the basis of what Lewin called Force Field Analysis.

If the factors for change outweigh the factors against change, change will happen. If not, then there's low motivation to change.

Some people come ready for change whilst others take a long time to let go of their comfortable current realities.


Lewin was aware that change is not an event, but rather a process. He called that process a transition.

A key part of his model is the notion that change, even at the psychological level, is a journey rather than a simple step. Transition is the inner movement or journey we make in reaction to a change. This second stage occurs as we make the changes that are needed.

This journey may not be that simple and the person may need to go through several stages of misunderstanding before they get to the other side.

This is not an easy time as people are learning about the changes and need to be given time to understand and work with them. Support is really important here and can be in the form of training, coaching, and accepting that mistakes are part of the process.

Using role models and allowing people to develop their own solutions also help to make the changes.  It is also important to keep communicating a clear picture of the desired change and the benefits to people so they don't lose sight of where they are heading.


As the name suggests this stage is about establishing stability once the changes have been made.

The objective is to reinforce the change and ensure that the desired change is accepted and maintained into the future. The changes become the new norm, people form new relationships and become comfortable with their routines. 

This can take time. However, without this stage, people tend to go back to doing what they are used to doing.