Kurt Lewin's Field Theory: A Review and Re‐Evaluation

  title={Kurt Lewin's Field Theory: A Review and Re‐Evaluation},
  author={Bernard Burnes and Bill M. Cooke},
  journal={Research Methods \& Methodology in Accounting eJournal},
  • B. Burnes, B. Cooke
  • Published 5 September 2012
  • Sociology
  • Research Methods & Methodology in Accounting eJournal
Field theory was central to Kurt Lewin's work yet, after his death, interest in it declined significantly until the 1990s when a variant, force field analysis, became widely used. This paper examines the origins, purpose and continuing relevance of field theory. It especially looks at the influences of gestalt psychology, topology and Ernst Cassirer's philosophy of science on its development. It argues that Lewin's attempt to replace conventional topology with his own Lewinian mathematics-based… 
The Origins of Lewin’s Three-Step Model of Change
At the time of his death in 1947, Kurt Lewin was seen as one of the foremost psychologists of his day. He is now best known for his three-step model of change. However, this has been criticized for
Kurt Lewin's Leadership Studies and His Legacy to Social Psychology: Is There Nothing as Practical as a Good Theory?
This paper re-examines Kurt Lewin's classic leadership studies, using them as a concrete example to explore his wider legacy to social psychology. Lewin distinguished between advanced “Galileian”
The myth of Kurt Lewin and the rhetoric of collective memory in social psychology textbooks
This article examines how social psychology textbooks represent Kurt Lewin and his contribution to social psychology. Many textbooks describe Lewin as the father of social psychology, using a
Sharpening the Focus of Force Field Analysis
The purpose is to explore the inherent complexity of Kurt Lewin's force field theory through applied analysis of organizational case examples and related methods. The methodology applies a range of
In the Political Laboratory: Kurt Lewin's Atmospheres
In a series of groundbreaking studies conducted in the late 1930s at the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station, the émigré German psychologist Kurt Lewin and his graduate student Ronald Lippitt
A Response to Critique of the Refreeze Step in Lewin's Model of Organizational Change from the Viewpoint of Organizational Behavior
Problem Statement: This paper responds to criticism of Kurt Lewin’s three step model of organizational change in increasingly turbulent environments. It explores whether the refreeze step of Kurt
Unfreezing change as three steps: Rethinking Kurt Lewin’s legacy for change management
Kurt Lewin’s ‘changing as three steps’ (unfreezing → changing → refreezing) is regarded by many as the classic or fundamental approach to managing change. Lewin has been criticized by scholars for
Understanding Resistance to Change – Building on Coch and French
Abstract The aim of this article is to explore the nature of resistance to change (RTC) and the notion that employees are the prime source of such resistance. It takes a historical perspective on the
When Theory Meets Practice: Combining Lewin’s Ideas about Change with Motivational Interviewing to Increase Energy-Saving Behaviours Within Organizations
ABSTRACT Although more than seven decades have passed since Lewin laid the foundation for how employees’ behaviour could be changed within organizations, his ideas are far from being obsolescent.
Inquiring in the Present Tense: The Dynamic Mechanism of Action Research
ABSTRACT Lewin’s contribution to social science is extensive. This paper takes Lewin’s notion of defining the field at a given time and brings it into the arena of action research to make explicit


The Practical Theorist: The Life and Work of Kurt Lewin
of Kurt Lewin. By Alfred J Marrow, PhD. Price, $8.50. Pp 228. Basic Books Inc Publishers, 404 Park Ave S, New York 10016, 1969. The publication of a book on the life and work of Kurt Lewin occasions
Kurt Lewin and the planned approach to change: A re-appraisal
The work of Kurt Lewin dominated the theory and practice of change management for over 40 years. However, in the past 20 years, Lewin's approach to change, particularly the 3-Step model, has
Kurt Lewin and complexity theories: back to the future?
Many writers acknowledge the significance of Kurt Lewin's contribution to organizational change. However, over the last 20 years, where the focus has been on rapid, transformational change, Lewin's
This Business of Topology
Lewin's introduction of topological psychology was an exciting innovation as well as an object of ridicule. The reasons for its function as a fighting slogan for the Lewinian school and for its
Metatheory and Field Theory in Social Psychology: Relevance or Elegance?
Current common confusion about the nature of Lewin's field theory can be resolved by making a distinction between Lewin's psychological metatheory and his specific field theory. This clarification
Kurt Lewin's Change Theory in the Field and in the Classroom: Notes Toward a Model of Managed Learning
Few people have had as profound an impact on the theory and practice of social and organizational psychology as Kurt Lewin. Though I never knew him personally, I was fortunate during my graduate
Field Theory as a Basis for Scholarly Consulting
About 45 scholars throughout the world met recently to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tavistock Institute. The Tavistock Institute was the organization that founded action research in Europe
Introduction: The Heritage of Kurt Lewin
This journal issue commemorates the recent 100th anniversary of the birth of Kurt Lewin, a founder of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and of this, SPSSI's journal. It appears
A tri-citation analysis exploring the citation image of Kurt Lewin
  • L. Marion
  • Sociology, Computer Science
  • 2002
The findings of an author tri-citation analysis that explores the relationships among authors linked to Lewin by citations in the three ISI databases indicate the continuing diffusion of Lewin's ideas.
Making social psychology experimental: a conceptual history, 1920-1970.
  • K. Danziger
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Journal of the history of the behavioral sciences
  • 2000
The historical emergence of a field devoted to the experimental investigation of effects identified as "social" required a radical break with traditional conceptions of the social, and a new generation of statistical procedures and experimental design shaped implicit conceptions ofThe social in social psychological experiments through such procedures as randomization and the additive combination of variables.