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In: Other Topics

Submitted By miaka
Words 725
Pages 3
BUSM 4194 / 4190 / 4177 Leading for Change Extract from prescribed textbook describing Kurt Lewin’s force field and change model

Lewin’s contribution (force field, ice cube and action research models)
Kurt Lewin was born in Germany of middle class Jewish extraction. Along with fellow co-founders of the Gestalt movement he migrated overseas (to the US) as Nazism took hold in Germany. The Gestalt School differentiated itself from others in psychology by its adherence to the principle of ’wholeness’. By way of example – an individual recognising a forest before they notice the trees and other components of which it is composed and which define it as a forest. This principle gave rise to familiar drawings of objects which could be perceived as two different things simultaneously, depending on the way an individual chose to perceive them. Gestaltism gained pre-eminence by virtue of its empirical tradition in studies of perception, which generated a series of perceptual organising rules still very much current today (for example in systems thinking). Lewin, like his colleagues, applied Gestalt principles to other areas in psychology – however it was his work in experimental social psychology, and especially with groups and their influence, which proved to be most his most notable achievement. Lewin developed ‘field theory’ to explain the effect that social (group) influence has on individuals. According to this theory, individuals live inside intangible ‘bubbles’ - a person’s goals could be disparate from what they think others expected. The resulting tension – forces which push and pull the individual – represents the dissonance between the individual’s desire and their attributions about the desires of others. This tension mediates the decision over which action an individual will take. In other words our actions, goals and thoughts are at the mercy of social pressures…...

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