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Resistance to Organizational Change Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 25th, 2019

The inclusion and acceptance of change have significantly featured in the present organization operations. User acceptance of change is vital for its implementation.

Perceived utility and simplicity of use is one factor that motivates individuals towards its acceptance. For a leader to guide, initiate, and implement change, he/she should have a good understanding of factors that reinforce or wane the workers.

The reasons as to why people resist change varies from both internal, individual initiated to external environmental factors. Losing something worth is something employees fear. This comes because of focusing on internal interest instead of organization’s interest (Kotter & Schlesinger, 2008).

However rational the change could be, people will anticipate loss of things that they value if they accept change. When people perceive that change may cost them much or misunderstand its implications, they may resist it.

A situation like that arises when there is no trust between individuals involved in the change process. Besides, when employees believe that they do not have the required skills or may not develop them with respect to the change to be initiated, they may not tolerate it at all.

Peer pressure and attitude that supervisors may have towards change also contributes to low tolerance for change.

If the nature of the change involves new processes, it may cause the need for new behavior and relationships resulting from new recruits. Low tolerance of such by employees may impact the intended new change.

Other resistances to change factors includes individual’ routine seeking and short term focus. This is explained in terms of preference to oppose or adjust to change, whereby some people are more inclined to change than others are (Nov & Ye, 2008) depending on the use of technology and personal behavior.

Individuals who are routine seeking relate change to negative outcomes and do not tolerate uncertainty. For this reason, therefore, they would rather continue with their daily routine and focus than incorporate new ones.

Disagreements within the management over the pros and cons of change can also cause resistance. The risks that may be involved may far outweigh benefits proposed.

The tension that results may cause its implementation difficult for employees to understand especially if it is not communicated out well or due to inadequate information. Loss of income, jobs and breakup of work groups also contribute to resistance within the firm.

External factors may involve the culture that the organization perceives its operations run. These may involve the basic norms and beliefs that employees and outsiders have on how a firm operations are controlled. This may determine its survival and success in the market (Handler & Kram, 1988).

The contingency perspective also affects change implementation. Firms in complex environments would require unrefined structures with many liaisons through amalgamations, collisions and mergers unlike those in simple environments in order to initiate change.

For ecological reasons, some firms may be influenced by external factors in terms of survival or annihilation depending on the nature of services they provide to the market and the necessity of demand for them.


After experiencing growth for quite some period, The CEO of a local company decided that he needed to introduce a new product different in nature from the one they offered before to the market.

This would mean new processes and people would be needed to initiate the change because of the unique product nature and the technological advancement it needed. The CEO eliminated the advice of other operating managers and grew the concern on a few.

The operations manager and the procurement department were not involved though they were to help in determining effective production strategies.

The CEO tried for several months to initiate the change until when the operations manager and head of procurement approached him with protest as to why they thought the change would not be successful. Objections from other departments also grew until the CEO finally abandoned the idea.

The resistance rose from within the company. It had not reached the market where the firm marketed its products. The CEO focused most on his own interest in the expense of interest of the firm. Because of personal behavior and attitude, new ideas may come up which may need to be put into trial.

However, attempting to put them into operation without involving the norms that other people are used to would most obviously cause turmoil in the organization. This was the practical aspect of the resistance due to exclusion from decision making.

As a course of resistance, the users might have been worried or feared that the new change would not work. Subconscious thought or feelings of users have the tendency of diverting energy elsewhere from the change being initiated (Bovey & Hede, 2001).

The people who are to promote change should have the same interest and not divided attention otherwise the process may not go through the transition.

In order to overcome the resistance, it is imperative to educate the managers and communicate to the users the need for change. This requires a good relationship, time, effort, and involvement of everyone (Baack, 1999).

The CEO should involve the resistors in the process of designing and putting the product into the market. This can motivate them to work towards the same desired direction (Kotter & Schlesinger, 2008). He should then support the process through facilitation of new skills that could be required to produce a product.

This can help in reducing fear and anxiety among employees. The CEO should offer incentives to potential resistors and negotiate with them. To manipulate them, he should give them desired roles to play through co-optation failure to which he can try coercion, both implicit and explicit only for the interest of the company.

To follow Kotter’s model effectively and initiate change, one must establish a communication ground from which they will lay down information for change to the employees.

They should establish a long lasting relationship with available employees, giving them offs and time to think about the change and accepting their opinion in the implementation process. It should be based on willingness to contribute to change through accepting responsibility.

Give them freedom to choose ways or methods of working out solutions geared towards the same goal (Oreg, 2003). The CEO should empower all departmental heads and give them a chance to do what they can do.

Their unique intellects and thoughts should be stimulated provided that they conform to the desired direction of change.

Confirming that resistance has reduced is a process that requires the willingness of all employees.

When leaders from other departments are able to see and understand that resistance results from their actions and they take measures to reduce them, it becomes a clear indication that change is being taken care of.

Some other indicators include all employees accept responsibility for their actions, people work hard to meet targets without complaining among others. Everyone seems to be guided by the same goals and objectives the firm tries to achieve.


Baack, D. (1999). Organizational behavior, 3rd edition. Mason: Thomson South-Western.

Bovey, W., & Hede, A. (2001). Resistance to organizational change: the role of defense mechanisms. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 16 (7), 534-548.

Handler, W., & Kram, K. (1988). Succession in family firms: the problem of resistance. Family Business Review, 1(4), 361-38.

Kotter, J., & Schlesinger, L. (2008). Choosing strategies for change. California: Harvard Business School.

Nov, O., & Ye, C. (2008). Users’ personality and perceived ease of use of digital libraries: the case for resistance to change. Journal of the American society for Information Science and Technology, 59(5), 845-851.

Oreg, S. (2003). Resistance to change: developing an individual differences measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88 (4), 680- 693.

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