Essay about Managing Resistance to Change

2719 WordsJun 22, 200811 Pages
Abstract While some resistance to change is inevitable, most resistance can be managed and actually is beneficial. In order to manage resistance to change, managers must first understand what attributes to the resistance and how the resistance is beneficial. Resistance to change can be healthy, because it forces you to check your assumptions and clarify what you are doing, as well as how you are planning to achieve it. The many reasons for resistance are explored and practical solutions, based on findings of research studies, are offered. How to Manage Resistance to Change It was once stated by Gerard Egan (1988) that there are three certain things in life: death, taxes, and resistance to change. David Foote (2001) is quoted as…show more content…
To deal with complexity we rely on habits or programmed responses, but when confronted with change, our tendency to respond in our accustomed ways becomes a source of resistance. Remember, letting go of the old feels very risky to many people and we, as managers, have to encourage and reinforce their efforts. Mark Twain says it best: “Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.” To assist with breaking habits, we have to lead employees one step at a time until they feel comfortable with the change. A third cause of resistance is the fear of losing something already possessed. Change tends to threaten the investment an employee may have already made in the status quo. The more people have vested in the current system, the more they resist. They fear losing status, money, authority, friendships, personal convenience, or other economic benefits they value. Older employees tend to resist change more than younger workers because they tend to have more vested in the current system; therefore having more to lose. The final possible cause of resistance is a person’s belief that the change is incompatible with the goals and interests of the organization. For instance, an employee may believe a proposed new job procedure will reduce product quality or productivity, which will result in that employee resisting the change. When managers see change resistance as dysfunctional, they can use any or all of the seven
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