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Resistance to Change

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Essay title: Resistance to Change

Resistance to Change

Organizational change is the movement of an organization away from its present state and toward some desired future state to increase its effectiveness. (George et al, pg 567) Organizations need to change in the modern day market place. New technologies, globalization, foreign trade, investments and constantly shifting marketplaces demand the need for flexibility, adaptation, and change. The downside to this is in an organizations employees. People by nature resist change. In a workplace environment, where familiarity is present with an employees set of tasks and processes, change becomes more difficult to introduce and accept. There are basically three groups associated with a resistance to change. They are on an organizational level, group level, and individual level. I will address these different areas and offer a solution as to what I believe is the best way to deal with this resistance.

The first group is on an organizational level. Many forces inside an organization make it difficult for the organization to change in response to changing conditions in its environment. (George et al, pg 571) One such force is that of power and conflict. The basis for this resistance is if a change within an organization benefits one group, but hurts another, the benefiting group will push hard for the change while the group that is hurt by this change will resist it and fight against it. The conflict between the two groups will slow down the change and may even prevent it from happening.

Differences in functional orientation are another area that may cause resistance to change. Different functions and divisions of an organization tend to see the source of a problem with “tunnel” vision. In other words, because of their own viewpoints, these divisions see problems as they see them rather than looking at the problem unbiased. The result is organizational inertia, because the organization must spend vast amount of time to secure an agreement about the source of the problem before it can even consider how to respond to it. (George et al, pg571)

Mechanistic structure is the standardization of behavior through rules and procedures set forth through centralization in an organization. People who work in highly mechanistic structures are more resistant to change due to the expectation of performing tasks and duties in specific ways and so do not develop the initiative to adjust their behavior to changing conditions. This in turn causes the group to resist any changes in the norm.

Organizational culture is another resistance to change. Because an organizations norms and values causes people to react and operate in predictable ways, any disruption to these patterns of norms may cause people to be resistant to the changes.

At a group level, there are group norms which are strong informal norms that specify appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and govern interactions between group members. Change will inevitably alter these sets of informal norms. Group cohesiveness although beneficial to an organization, can sometimes impede the necessity for change within an organization. The reason is the group will unite to protect its status quo and protect its own interests at the expense of other groups. Finally groupthink, which is the discounting of negative information within a group in order to agree, and escalation of commitment, which the continued pursuit of an action even though the group realizes its decision was wrong, will greatly cause resistance to change. This is due to the difficulty in changing the groups behavior.

Finally, the individuals resistance to change comes in basically three forms. The first is due to uncertainty and insecurity. People inevitably resist change because of the unknowns associated with change. New roles and tasks may be given to employees, some employees may be terminated while others are promoted. These factors all cause uncertainty and insecurity and in turn, resistance to change. Selective perception and retention may be a cause for resistance. This is due to how employees perceive the changes in general. They may see changes effecting them in a negative fashion by way of few benefits to themselves and greater benefits to the organization. This in

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