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Reasons for Resistance to Change

Please help with the following exercise found in the textbook: Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach written by Ian Palmer, Richard Dunford, and Gib Akin (2006).

Exercise 6.2
Listed below are a number of reasons why people may be resistant to a change. For each of the reasons, identify at least one action that could be taken by management to reduce the prospect that it will be a significant source of resistance.

Reason for Resistance

Dislike of change
Discomfort with uncertainty
Perceived negative effects on interest
Attachment to established culture/ways of doing things
Perceived breach of psychological contact
Lack of conviction that change is needed
Lack of clarity as to what is expected
Belief that the specific change being proposed is inappropriate
Belief that the timing is wrong
Excessive change
Cumulative effect of other changes in one's life
Perceived clash with ethics
Reaction to the experience of previous changes
Disagreement with the way the change is being managed

Solution Preview

Listed below are a number of reasons why people may be resistant to a change. For each of the reasons, identify at least one action that could be taken by management to reduce the prospect that it will be a significant source of resistance.

Reason for Resistance

Dislike of change - There are many reasons why employees don't like changes, e.g., they don't know what to do, how to do it and why they should do it. Others feel they are not well suited to the task. Management should minimize these hindrances by meeting their staff and explaining the nature of the new change. Address some questions they might have in mind like the reasons for the change. Explain the reason thoroughly. In order for them to be confident with the new task, give proper instruction on what to do, training on the process of doing it and also check if their personality and skills are matched to the new task or role.

Discomfort with uncertainty - Learning something new creates resistance to change. Most of the time, it is not because of disagreement with the benefits of the new process but it can be a fear of the unknown future and uncertainties, e.g., their ability to adapt to it. Most of them don't want to get out of their comfort zones. Most of us are suspicious about the unfamiliar and we are always and naturally concerned on how we will be able to change from the old to the new things especially when it involves new and risking failure. People of this kind have low tolerance for change and they fear that they will not be able to develop new skills and behaviors required in the new environment. Give the employee the assurance that he needs and develop a relationship based on trust. Manager or immediate supervisor needs to communicate with him and evaluate the cause of fear and uncertainty. Train him on the job, give him all the support that he needs to be able to succeed in the change that is taking place. What can be done in order for him not to fear of failure? Perhaps he needs to be assured that he can learn the job and the company is patient to help him to be successful in this new venture. He might be afraid of not being able to cope up with new task and lose his job. All if his issues and concerns can be taken into consideration as a way to help him cope up with the change that has to go about.
Perceived negative effects on interest - Some people view the change as contrary to their interests and they will be in part aligned against it. For dealing with steadfast obstacles to change in the form of people and their interests, managers and leaders can do what they can to present the inevitability of the change given the risk landscape, and offer to help people to adjust.

Attachment to established culture/ways of doing things - The current processes and systems seemed fine to the employees and now they are forced to take out of their comfort zone and so they are resisting the changes. Some strategies for responding to this problem is to provide safe, structured opportunities for the staff to ask questions, raise concerns and provide input (may need to be anonymous/confidential). Management must respond to questions and concerns in an objective manner and no biases. Breaking the change process into different steps will help obtain commitment to begin the change process.

Perceived breach of psychological contact - Organizations are under pressure with the recent trends toward globalization, restructuring, and downsizing. As a result, organizations make rapid and constant changes like altering employment relationships and ...

Solution Summary

The solution identifies the reasons why people are resistant to change in organizations. Each reason identifies at least one action that could be taken by management to reduce the prospect that it will be a significant source of resistance. References included.

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