When we look at Lewin through Sturdy and Greys article we can see that they would like the Change Models to look at the further social impact of change, they would also like to see that non-change is considered.
Throughout industry we can see constantly evolving business, it is a not impossible but perhaps rare to see a business that has stuck with the original business model and has not changed, are they less successful? Well the ones that have survived have perhaps found their niche and have resolutely stuck at it, they took the decision to stay the same, the window cleaner, the milkman or the mechanic that has used the same model for decades. Other industries such as mine do not stand still and perhaps sometimes fall into Sturdy and Greys change because change is good, not because it is needed.
Change projects can have massive implications for the company and socially, my Evernote project was relatively small, and was successful, however its failure would not have brought down the company or had an irreversible effect on the social wellbeing of my engineers. Some larger change projects could quite easily however be socially catastrophic, moving a company location or off shoring for instance, both could have massive social implications. With larger social implications, it is not uncommon for government level negotiations and lobbying to take place.
It is interesting that without any prior knowledge I managed to use an approximation of the Lewin model for my Evernote change project. This shows that even without formal training in change management, it is still possible to affect change. In recent years however there has been a shift to more professional change management as a specific function due to the large numbers of failed change projects. As we move to more professional change managers or even project managers (arguable the same thing) then we will see the learning loop close and feedback, this will possibly give rise to more complex change models and systems, or prove that in some circumstances simple is best and that 3 phases can indeed be sufficient, Unfreeze-Change-Freeze.[i] (Lewin 1947)
My change project
was a relatively simple one that only involved approximately 40 people, and the
capital expenditure was quite low, being mainly made up of the time cost of the
people for training. Even this simple project would have fitted more closely to
an n stage model such as Kotter’s eight stage model, the granularity would have
guided me more closely even though I did manage to achieve all 8 of the stages,
establishing a need for urgency, ensure there is a powerful change group, develop
the vision, communicate the vision, empower the staff, ensure there are short
term wins, consolidate the gains and embed the change in the culture[ii]
(Kotter 1985). Again Kotter’s model fails Sturdy and
Greys test of the null option, do nothing is not an option.
[i] Kurt Lewin Frontiers in group dynamics 1947
[ii] Kotter Leading Change 1995