Change has been considered the most reliable constant within organizations. Change as an organizational phenomenon has been recognized as important for years, given the proliferation of research, applied models, and books advising on change. Yet organizational change is one of the least understood aspects of organization life, evidenced by unmet expectations and failed initiatives. Despite the books and articles written about managing change, perhaps the paradox between prevalence and failure lies in the difficulty organizations have in getting a handle on change itself.

Simply put, change is the process by which an organism goes from relative stability through a period of relative instability and then back to relative stability. This is commonly represented by Kurt Lewin’s three-stage model of change. The first stage is unfreezing. This ...

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