Re-freezing (Was The Unlearning Organisation) LO9740

Martin Wood (
Wed, 04 Sep 1996 18:28:49 +0100

Gary Scherling in LO9707 comments on my original post (LO9684) about Lewin's
unfreeze-move-refreeze model:

> > Personally, I think that the term "re-freezing" isn't very helpful
> > these days ( ... but that's another story ... )
> I'd appreciate hearing your 'other story'

Thanks for asking - I'll try to explain why.

Like you, I find the concept of "un-freezing" behaviours helpful, when
looking at making significant change.

I am less happy about the term "re-freeze" because it implies a static
state. If I think of a block of ice sitting on my kichen work-top, it
stays that way for a long while before melting into a pool of water.

(To digress for a moment, this analogy can be extended to the un-freeze
stage. We can un-freeze behaviour naturally (wait for the ice-block to
melt) - by which time it may be too late, or we can speed things up
(employ a change agent e.g. a jug of hot water, or change the external
environment e.g. turn the heating on). Then we get a pool of water which
is a lot easier to re-mould than a block of ice.)

Back in the 1950's when Lewin first developed his model, I gather things
changed a lot slower, and business wasn't quite so global. Life isn't
like that today (as Ben Compton has commented), and so now "re-freezing"
doesn't seem a helpful term.

The phrase "only change is constant" springs to mind.

As another thought, I understand that Lewin's model assumes that change
processes alter attitudes and beliefs (and that behaviours will then
follow). However, it seems to me that in organisations it is "easier" to
observe and monitor behaviours, and then from changed behaviour influence
attitudes and beliefs.

Martin Wood - Communications and Media Division, EDS UK         Tel: +44 1908 284050
The views above are mine, and not necessarily those of EDS

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