Resistance to change in a typical organization refers to an employee’s behaviour designed to discredit, delay or prevent instructions of change in an organization. However, resistance to change can be individual as well as organizational.
Reasons why employees show resistance to change?
Job security – Fear of losing job
Change in working climate
Obsolescence of skills
Change in social interactions and relationships
Change in role or status
Reasons why organizations show resistance to change?
Lack of resources
Difficulty in implementing structural or technological changes
Lack of vision, Motivation, Knowledge
Due to Sunk Costs associated with change
Levels of Resistance to Change
(1) Individual Level
At an individual Level, there is resistance to change due to the following reasons:Economic ReasonsPsychological ReasonsSocial ReasonsJob securityEgo DefensivenessSocial DisplacementSkill ObsolescenceEmbracing Status QuoGroup resistance or Peer PressureFear of economic LossLow tolerance to changeLack of trust on change agentReduced opportunity for incentivesFear of Unknown Selective perception
(2) Organizational Level
At an organizational level, there is resistance to change due to:
Threat to existing power and influence in the organization
A rigid organization structure favours stability more than innovation
Unfavourable Organization Culture and Norms
Sunk Costs associated with organizational change
Overcoming Resistance to change
Some approaches to overcome resistance to change at an individual level as well as organizational level are:
Participation and Involvement – Encouraging participation and involvement of individuals who will be affected by the change in the change process, reduces uncertainty and clarifies any doubts that the individuals might have.
Communicating and Educating – Educating the employees about the need and benefits for change and communicating with employees about their problems with change helps to gain acceptance from employees.
Negotiating and obtaining commitment – Management can offer rewards to people who cooperate with the change and/or negotiate something of value to obtain commitment for support from participants to avoid resistance.
Effective Leadership – A change agent can make supportive efforts and attempt to reduce the fear and anxieties of employees through sympathetic listening, job counselling and being compassionate about their problems.
Manipulation – Management can choose to withhold information that they feel will lead to resistance from employees and manipulate them to gain their support.