What is resistance to change

• a multifaceted phenomenon which introduces delays, additional costs and instabilities into the process of change.
• May take the form of:

  1. Procrastination and delays in triggering the process of change.
  2. Unforeseen implementation delays and inefficiencies which slow down the change and make it cost more than originally anticipated.
  3. Efforts within the organization to sabotage the change or to absorb it in the welter of other priorities.

Types of resistance

  • Systemic resistance
  • Behavioral resistance

Systemic resistance

  1. Organizational Resistance caused by among other factors:
  2. Organization design
  3. Organizational culture
  4. Resource limitations
  5. Fixed investments
  6. Inter-organizational agreements
  7. Defined as the passive incompetence of the organization occasioned by the above factors
  8. It is proportional to the difference between the capacity required for new strategic work and the capacity to handle it.
  9. It occurs whenever the development of capacity lags behind strategy development.

Minimizing systemic change

  1. Provide dedicated capacity by planning and budgeting for it.
  2. Integrate management development into the change process.
  3. Stretch the duration of change to maximum possible to assure timely response to environmental challenges.
  4. Use sequence: behavior development system build up strategic action

Behavioral resistance

  1. Individuals
  2. Employees
  3. Managers in other departments
  4. Collective resistance
  5. Managers who share common tasks
  6. Coalitions and power centers within the organization

Reasons for resistance by individuals

  1. Parochial self interest
  2. Though of loss of something of value as a result
  3. Political camps in organizations fighting each other (power struggle)
  4. Misunderstanding and lack of trust
  5. Implications not understood
  6. Lack of trust of those in authority or in other departments.
  7. Resist in order to save face – accepting may mean admitting past mistakes
  8. Low tolerance for change
  9. Fear of not being able to develop skills/behaviors required
  10. Different assessments
  11. Different view from managers
  12. Some may see more costs than benefits
  13. May be good if based on full information as it may point to some potential problem
  14. Threat to Job Status/Security
  15. Employees worry that any change may threaten their job or security.
  16. Breakup of Work Group
  17. Changes can tear apart established on-the-job social relationships.
  18. Competing Commitments
  19. Change can disrupt employees in their pursuit of other goals.

Dealing with behavioral resistance to change
Education + communication

  • Commonly used in situations where there is a lack of information or inaccurate information and analysis


  1. Once persuaded, people will often help with the implementation of the change


  • Can be very time consuming if lots of people are involved Participation + involvement
  • Commonly used where the initiators do not have all the information they need to design the change, and where others have considerable power to resist.


  • People who participate will be committed to implementing change, and any relevant information they have will be integrated into the change plan


  • Can be very time consuming if participators designed inappropriate


  • Facilitation + support
  • Commonly used where people are resisting because of adjustment problems


  •  No other approach works as well with adjustment problems Drawbacks
  • Can be time consuming, expensive and still fails
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