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Management Theory of Kurt Lewin

Jeanne Dininni

Lewin's theory of change can improve your company's organization

Kurt Lewin contributed much to management theory. Such innovative business management concepts as his three leadership styles (autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire), his organizational change model (based on the concepts of unfreezing, changing, and refreezing) and his force field analysis method have assured Kurt Lewin his rightful place among the leading business management theorists.

Not just an insightful management theorist, Kurt Lewin is known for bridging the gap between theory and practice. His "action research" approach put theory to work in the field in brand new ways, as demonstrated by his force field analysis model. This model utilizes a diagram to assess the combined effect of all the driving and restraining forces that influence organizational systems, either moving them toward or away from change. In using the force field diagram to analyze a potential change, the management theory of Kurt Lewin teaches that the following factors must be considered:

1. The current and desired situations;

2. The likely evolution of the current situation if no action is taken;

3. The relative strength of the forces driving and the forces resisting change;

4. The validity, importance, strength (on a 1-10 scale) and ease with which each force can be changed;

5. The charting of each force on the diagram;

6. The viability of change and likelihood that progress can occur;

7. The possible effect of decreasing restraining forces and/or increasing driving forces; and

8. Finally, Lewin theory predicts that the understanding that increasing or decreasing driving or restraining forces can increase, decrease, or even create other forces.

Understand the management theory of Kurt Lewin and its implications for your company

Numerous websites provide valuable information about Lewin theory. In addition to diagrams and summaries of Lewin's principles, you'll find various courses and instructional materials that can help you develop the background knowledge and practical expertise to put Lewin's theories to work for your company.

Hire a consultant who will incorporate Kurt Lewin's change theory into the approach used

Consultants with knowledge and experience in the management theory of Kurt Lewin can guide you in maximizing the benefit of his principles in your own company's unique environment.

Look for tools that will help put Lewin's theory to work for you

Widely available online tools and resources can help you more easily implement Kurt Lewin's theory of change management.
  • Consider the many benefits of putting Lewin change management theory to work for your business. If you decide to use it, why not go all out and practice it in all the areas it can effectively address: your own leadership of the company, your managers' development and your employees' readiness for change.
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Jeanne Dininni