Resistance to Change Paper
Organizations initiate change efforts for countless reasons. Failure to properly manage these changes can cause an organization to decline or even fail. Most organizations are faced with ongoing changes due to internal and external pressures. These pressures can lead to strategic changes that affect the entire organization or incremental changes that have a direct impact on a specific area. Given the economy today, organizations must continually scan their external business environment to maintain their competitive advantage by making internal adjustments. Change is one of the biggest challenges organizations face. In today’s environment, change often occurs as a result of internal and external pressures. Internal pressures for change are often linked with external pressures. By this I mean the pressures often originate from the impact of external changes. Most often, changes in technology, development of new products and services, increased competition and consumer preferences drive change. Other pressures that cause organizational changes are new requirements in the regulatory environment, need to increase profitability, reorganization to increase efficiencies and the need to change organizational culture. With today’s ever-changing environment, organizations will continue to see an increase in external pressures that lead to continuous changes. Most of the times, these changes will be disruptive to the organization causing people fear and uncertainty, which leads to resistance. Resistance to change may develop from the individual, the organization or from both. Many organizations tend to be good at planning and orchestrating the technical and structural aspects of change, but poor at guiding and supporting the human side associated with change. Organizations are so intent on pushing forward with the new they sometimes forget to help employees let go of the old. When people can’t let go, they often hold on sometimes by resisting change [ (Demers, Forrer, Leibowitz, & Cahill, 1991-2001) ]. Moreover, resistance often shows up in different and unexpected ways. According to the book Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior, they have identified seven reasons for individual resistance to change [ (Carrell, Jennings, & Heavrin, 1997) ]: 1. Fear of the unknown or uncertainty – they may fear their job security is threatened or have concerns about meeting new job requirements. 2. Self-interest – they may believe they will lose power, status or influence. 3. Habit – they prefer the old way of doing things.
4. Personality conflicts – not getting along with others in the organization may limit their ability to accept change. 5. Differing perceptions – they may differ in respect to how change may affect them (good for some and bad for others). 6. General mistrust – they may understand the arguments for change, but may not trust the motives of those advocating the change. 7. Social disruptions – they may fear that change will disrupt existing traditions. Many change models have been developed in an effort to effectively manage and drive change. Most models have components that focus on the people-side of change that deal with resistance. This paper will describe three models and their relation to change resistance. The Lewin change model developed by Kurt Lewin is a three-stage model known as the “unfreezing-change-refreezing” model. This model is based on the theory that planned organizational change can occur by changing the behavior and attitudes of employees. These changes occur from three distinct stages. The first stage of this model is about getting ready to change. It involves getting to a point of understanding that change is necessary and getting ready to move away from the status quo. The second stage is to change what needs to be changed. This is a challenging stage because people are unsure and...
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