Resistance to change by organizations and their members is a common and natural phenomenon. Resistance can be overt, implicit, immediate, or deferred. Resistance to change hinders adaptions and progress.
Organizational change is a rational response to changing requirements for organization survival, growth, and effectiveness.
What are the Major Reasons for Resistance to Change?
These include the following:
1. Self Interest
Individuals seek to protect a status quo with which they are content due to their vested interests.
People invest their efforts and commitment to systems, procedures, and technologies to make them work.
They may have a personnel stake in their specialized skills.
Thus, threats to the interests and values of individuals generate resistance to change.
2. Misunderstanding and Lack of Trust
People resist change when they do not understand the reasons for the change or its nature and likely consequences.
Similarly, if managers have little trust in their subordinates, information about change will be withheld or distorted.
Sometimes, the way in which change is introduced can be rested rather than the change itself.
3. Low Tolerance of Change
People sometimes resist change because they have a low ability to cope with change, to face the unknown, to deal with uncertainty.
Uncertainty is the lack of information about future events. It represents a fear of the unknown.
It is a threat for employees who have a low tolerance for change and fear the novel and unusual.
They do not know how the change will affect them.
Sometimes change efforts are seen simply as something that new managers do to make their mark.
Over time, employees see change efforts come and go much like the seasons.
Eventually, cynicism sets in, and employees refuse to support yet another change program.
Habits are hard to break.
They are sometimes serious constraints to change.
Most employees resist change due to their habits that have been developed over the years.
People with a high need for security are likely to resist change because it threatens their feelings of safety.
8. Economy Factors
A change that creates a fear of economic loss among employees is likely to generate resistance to change.
Change may bring 1. Lay off or retrenchments 2. Reduced job opportunities. 3. Wage cuts, 4. Demotion or 5. reduced monetary benefits.
Thus, it may lower one’s income. For all these reasons, employees resist change.
9. Lack of Skills
Without adequate introductory or remedial training, an otherwise positive change may be perceived in a great way.
10. Emotional Side Effects
Those who are forced to accept the job change commonly experience emotional side effects.
They feel a sense of loss over past ways of doing things.
This generates resistance.
Usually, people don’t want to disturb the status quo.
The old ways of doing things are comfortable and easy.
Hence, people don’t want to shake things up and try something new.
People often resist change because of poor timing.
Where possible, managers should introduce change when people are receptive.
13. Peer Pressure
Sometimes, work teams resist new changes, Even if individual members do not strongly oppose a change suggested by management, the team may band together in opposition.
14. Fear of Failure
Challenges presented by significant job changes can create a fear of failure.
Similarly, past bitter experiences of failure may cause resistance to change.
15. Lack of Tact
It is not important what is said in shaping our attitude towards people and events.
How it is said is often more important.
Lack of tactful and sensitive handling of change may generate resistance.
16. Structural Inertia
Organization structures are designed to sustain stability.
Thus, the existing structure may not be suitable for the changes to be introduced
Hence, the structure itself becomes the cause of resistance to change.
17. Limited Focus of Change
Organizations are made of a number of interdependent subsystems.
One subsystem cannot be changed without affecting the others.
18. Group Inertia
Even if people want to change their behavior, group norms or rules may act as a constraint.
19. Threat to Expertise
Sometimes, a change may require the transfer of responsibility to perform a specialized cd task to a new group of experts.
But the group of an expert losing the responsibility for performance may oppose the change.
20. Threat to Power Relationships
Sometimes, redistributions of decisions making authority may cause loss of power or influence some group of managers.
They may require to redelegate their power if the change is to be implemented. Thus, they will resist change.
21. Increase in Responsibility
Sometimes, a change may add more work and responsibility to the existing work of managers.
Hence, the manager’s ma opposes the change.
22. Resource Constraints
Genrally, organizations have limited resources.
Hence, any changes which require a huge investment in resources, are bound to drop.
Also, those groups in the organization that control sizable resources often see changes as a threat.
23. Personality Conflicts
Managers who are disliked by their people are poor conduits for change.
24. Other Reasons
The other reasons for resistance are as follows:
- Change may erode the power of the employees.
- People do not understand the nature of the change.
- It may render their existing skills obsolete.
- It may impose higher standards of performance on them.
- It may result in conflict between personnel and organization objectives.
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