Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/21338
Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Kurt Lewin's field theory: A review and re-evaluation
Authors: Burnes, Bernard
Cooke, Bill
Contact Email: bernard.burnes@stir.ac.uk
Issue Date: Oct-2013
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell for British Academy of Management
Citation: Burnes B & Cooke B (2013) Kurt Lewin's field theory: A review and re-evaluation, International Journal of Management Reviews, 15 (4), pp. 408-425.
Abstract: 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 topology in pursuit of scientific rigour resulted in the undermining of its relevance. The paper also compares force field analysis with Lewin's original conception of field theory and shows that it has significant weaknesses in terms of rigour. It concludes that a return to Lewin's original conception of field theory, based on gestalt psychology and conventional topology, can provide academics and practitioners with a valuable and much-needed approach to managing change.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/21338
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2370.2012.00348.x
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Management Work and Organisation
Lancaster University

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