Kurt Lewin's Change Theory

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Organizations face the continuous prospect of change as they fight to survive and remain competitive in a globalized economy. Changes exist in both the external and internal environments. As organizational environments exert pressure for change, organizations must adjust if they are to survive and prosper.
According to Medley and Akan (2008), theories concerning organizational change were dominated by Lewin’s planned change approach (1947), which brings together four complex elements: (1) field theory, which seeks to map the totality of human behaviors taking place; (2) group dynamics, which seeks to understand the behavior of groups; (3) action research, which requires analyzing the situation and choosing the best change for the
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The first step of this phase is to present to the organization a compelling problem or issue to get them to recognize and accept the need for change. Such compelling issues could be characterized by sharply declining sales, loss of important key market segments and clients, or poor financial performance that is due to actions of their part. This problem or issue will then create the pressure for change of attitude and behavior, and convince people that the change is needed. According to Medley and Akan (2008), managers can participate in this early stage by reducing barriers to change, creating incentives to change, and introducing appropriate rewards for new behaviors.
During a merger of two culturally different companies, Bank of America and U.S. Trust, a change was greatly needed to complete this transaction. During the change process, communication is key, and these two companies needed to communicate in order to be productive. Once managers noticed the issue, they restructured all the divisions needing the change to force a behavior change. They broke up ineffective teams which were composed of only people from each company, and redesign the groups to reflect the merged companies. The culture of U.S. Trust was that of the high end wealth management company which comprised of an exclusive group of clients, the
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