The following three stages explain Lewin’s Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze model as adopted by Freshkala in their accelerated digitization of supply chain and customer integrations and internal operations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic impact on customers, employees, the business.
The first stage of change under Lewin’s organizational change model is to prepare the organization to see the need for change. Many organization’s stakeholders naturally resist the change process; hence it is vital to create awareness about the need for change. Explain to the members how the present status quo hinders organizational development in some way before embarking on developing a new way of operation (Burnes, 2020). Upon realizing the need to go online, Freshkala embarked on extensive research to get firms already engaging in retail business and borrowed the idea of online retail and related delivery services. The employees were adequately prepared through training on the new dimensions of the business model to take hold when deployed and avoid resentments that come with resistance to change.
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Now that the organization members are unfrozen can start to move. The change stage is where people begin to resolve their uncertainties, looking for new approaches. The stakeholders start to believe in the new direction and act in ways that support the change. Lewin argued that change is the process where an organization transitions into a new form. The changing stage also termed the moving or transitioning step, is characterized by the implementation of the change (Burnes, 2020). Once unfrozen, the company deployed the changes, directing the workforce to get support whenever they did not understand an area. Freshkala conducted extensive training on the dimensions of online retailing and how to interact with customers in the e-commerce platform. The employees were also interviewed based on particular requirements in technology courses as required for the new roles. The shift from unfreeze to the new approach is not an overnight process (Cameron & Green, 2019). People take time to conform to the new operating model and proactively participate in the change process.
Once people have embraced the new approach to operation and the changes are fully deployed and measured based on feedback, the company is ready to refreeze the status quo (Burnes, 2020). The organization conducted regular reviews to assess if online retail is workable for the Freshkala brand. Even though Freshkala had a plan to digitize part of its business in future, the effects of covid-19 forced the company to make a quick transformation and offer its products online. The transition was positively welcomed as the societies fell in love with indoors and ordered groceries from their homes’ comfort via computers and smartphones to contain the spread of covid-19 (Sitetrail 2021). The shift to online retail also had an impact on the environment during the peaks of covid-19. The air got cleaner as the number of people visiting the grocery stores in vehicles and motorbikes reduces.
Overall, Lewin’s change management model is effective when the business requires drastic change to fit the market trends. In the case of the Freshkala grocery store, Covid-19 changed the retail sector, and shopping shifted from in-store buying to online orders. There was a need to quickly implement online grocery retail to tap into the increasing number of customers turning to only buying to avoid contracting covid-19 and adhere to government-imposed lockdowns. The change was positive as customers fell in love with indoors and ordering groceries from the comfort of their homes via computers and smartphones.
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Burnes, B. (2020). The origins of Lewin’s three-step model of change. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 56(1), 32-59.
Cameron, E., & Green, M. (2019). Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers.
Hussain, S. T., Lei, S., Akram, T., Haider, M. J., Hussain, S. H., & Ali, M. (2018). Kurt Lewin’s change model: A critical review of the role of leadership and employee involvement in organizational change. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 3(3), 123-127.
Sitetrail (2021). Freshkala is quickly becoming the top online grocery store in Los Angeles. Available online on: https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/533833819/freshkala-is-quickly-becoming-the-top-online-grocery-store-in-los-angeles. Accessed on 10 September 2021.
Vlados, C., Deniozos, N., & Chatzinikolaou, D. (2018). Global crisis, innovation and change management: Towards a new systemic perception of the current globalization restructuring. International Business Research, 11(8), 9-29.