Resistance in Change

There are various forms of resistance. It is important to know what the reasons and consequences are. What gives strength to resist and where does it come from? Past events Resistance can be the result of bad experience in past events. Power The more power is shared, the stronger is the resistance, because it is almost impossible to establish the change. Absence of a clear need or desire for change Then higher it is, the higher the resistance will be. The people have to think that the change is really necessary and urgent.

This can be reached for example through ime pressure. Scope and complexity of the change The bigger the change, the greater the resistance. For example just the mentioning of a larger scope can cause resistance. Uncertainty – Old habits People may resist change because they are worried they work and lives will be affected in a bad way. They are used to the way they work now and don’t want to change it. They feel comfortable. Concern over personal loss People are worried they will lose because of the change things like power, prestige, salary or quality of work. Group Resistance Groups have norms of behaviour and performance that are communicated to members.

If omebody wants to change these norms, there will be resistance. Dependence Dependency on other people is on itself not bad, but if it is too extreme, dependency on others can lead to resistance to change. For example a worker, which is highly dependent on his leader will not accept any change without asking him for a recommendation. Trust in management On the one hand, if a change is proposed when trust is low, a natural first reaction is to resist it. On the other hand, when trust is high, people are more likely to support the change. Further, resistance is present at three levels: individual, group and organizational:

Fear of the unknown Lack of trust in others A need for security A desire to maintain the status quo Cynicism, negative attitude Low levels of appreciation • • Poor decision making One part of a term not knowing what the other part is doing No benchmark for quality Accepting the obvious Lack of loyalty Uncertainty • • • • • • Table from “Learning to change” Collective perception Conflicting values and norms Thinking about the “good old days” Strong pressure to conform Defending balances of status/power Mutual overdependence • • • • 1 How to recognize and acknowledge resistance

First of all, it is very important to know how to recognize resistance. After you know how to recognize it, you can move further and handle it. Unexplained physical illnesses Are workers complaining of for example increased headaches, muscle aches, and other physical diseases, which cannot be explained? Increased absenteeism Are people arriving later and leaving earlier? Are hardworking employees missing work for the first times? Communication Are employees speaking in bad tones? Is there rumour about the implications of the change? Low productivity Do the employees look busy but producing little or no work product? Team pirit Is the team spirit so depressed that everyone is doing his or her own thing without much direction or purpose? Lack of morale and motivation Do people appear idly, bored, and unwilling to undertake new projects or responsibilities? How to handle resistance

If resistance is recognized, it’s very important to handle it. Otherwise the whole change process is in danger. So the question is: How can resistance be handled? Communication It is possible to reduce the resistance if you communicate with the people to help them to see that the change is really needed, for example through face-­? to-­? face discussions or a roup presentation. Poor communication is often a factor for failure. Sell the benefits When dealing with someone who resists the change, first elicit the reason for doing so. Then carefully list the benefits of the change. Involvement People should be involved in the change process. If they can express their view on the change and suggest adjustments, there will be less resistance. Support It is important that leaders support the change process.

They should listen to people’s ideas, be approachable, etc. For example difficult changes may require staff development, this can help to minimize the resistance. Negotiation nd Agreement Providing motivations for cooperation, for example salary increases or bonuses, can neutralize resistance. Manipulation It is an inexpensive way to influence resisters to accept the change, but it is also very dangerous. If people become aware they are being tricked, the leader’s believability will shrink dramatically. Compulsion Some changes require fast implementation. If people resist anyway too hard against the change, they can be threatened with for example job loss, salary freeze or a job transfer. This is really the last solution. It has a lot of negative effects like frustration, fear or revenge.