Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) is considered as the father of
He was born in Germany, later emigrated to the US.
He is well known for his writings on group dynamics, group
therapy and social psychology.
Kurt Lewin introduced his field theory concepts,
emphasizing that the group differs from the simple sum of
Lewin coined the term group dynamics in 1939.
His field theory states that "one’s behavior is
related both to one’s personal characteristics and to the
social situation in which one finds oneself."
His most influencial theory was his model of the change
process in human systems.
Kurt Lewin theorized a three-stage model of change that is
known as the unfreezing-change-refreeze model that
requires prior learning to be rejected and replaced.
- Lewin's theory states behavior as "a dynamic balance of
forces working in opposing directions. "
Restraining forces are forces that counter driving forces.
Restraining forces hinder change because they push the
person in the opposite direction.
Restraining forces cause a shift in the equilibrium which
Equilibrium is a state of being where driving forces equal
restraining forces and no change occurs
Equilibrium can be raised or lowered by changes that occur
between the driving and restraining forces.
Consists of three distinct and vital stages:
Unfreezing is the process which involves
finding a method of making it possible for people to
let go of an old pattern that was counterproductive in some
Unfreezing is necessary to overcome the
strains of individual resistance and group conformity.
Unfreezing can be achieved by the use of three methods.
First, increase the driving forces that direct behavior
away from the existing situation or status quo.
Second, decrease the restraining forces that
negatively affect the movement from the existing
Third, find a combination of the two methods listed
2. “Moving to a new level or Changing” or Movement
This stage involves a process of change in thoughts,
feeling, behavior, or all three, that is in some way more
liberating or more productive.
Refreezing is establishing the change as a new habit, so
that it now becomes the “standard operating procedure.”
Without this stage of refreezing, it is easy to go back to
the old ways.
- It is pertinant that the driving and restraining
forces must be analyzed before implimenting a planned
- Kritsonis A. Comparison of Change Theories. International
Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity; 8:1,
This page was last updated on: 29/11/2020