Chapter 6: Resistance to Change
Images of Managing Change
Images Perspective on Resistance to Change
Director Resistance signifies that not everyone is on board with the change program.
Managerial skills can be acquired to overcome this.
Navigator Resistance is expected and represents different interests within the organization. It
should be overcome but this is not always possible.
Caretaker Resistance is short-lived and change will occur regardless of attempts to stop it.
Coach Resistance is to be expected and managers need to show others that the resistance
does not promote effective teamwork.
Interpreter Resistance occurs when the change is not interpreted well or understood. The
manager’s role is to clarify the meaning of change.
Nurturer Resistance is irrelevant to whether the change will occur. Resistance is a matter of
guesswork by the resistor.
Resistance to Change
- Resistance is a very real and common issue that is faced by change managers during the process of change.
- It can be considered “tridimensional” – made up of three components:
o Affective: how a person feels about change
o Cognitive: what they think about it
o Behavioural: how they act or what they do in the face of change.
The behavioural response may take active or passive forms.
Signs of Resistance: Active
- Being critical - Using facts selectively - Intimidating or - Blocking
- Finding fault - Blaming or accusing threatening - Undermining
- Ridiculing - Sabotaging - Manipulating - Starting rumours
- Appealing to fear - Distorting facts - Arguing
Signs of Resistance: Passive
- Agreeing verbally but not following through (“malicious compliance”)
- Failing to implement change
- Procrastinating or dragging one’s feet
- Feigning ignorance
- Withholding information, suggestions, help, or support
- Standing by and allowing change to fail
Why Change is Resisted?
- Dislike of change
- Discomfort with uncertainty
- Perceived negative effects of interests – people’s perceptions of
the likely effect of the change on their “interests”
- Attachment to the organizational culture/identity
- Perceived breach of psychological contract – formal,
psychological, and social
- Lack of conviction that change is needed
- Lack of clarity as to what is needed
- Belief that the specific change being proposed is inappropriate
- Belief that the timing is wrong
- Excessive change
- Cumulative effects of other changes in one’s life
- Perceived clash with ethics
- Reaction to the experience of previous changes
- Disagreement with the way the change is being manage
1 2 Managing Resistance
A. A ”Situational” Approach: this proposes six methods for managing resistance that should be chosen based on contextual factors
Kotter and Schlesinger’s Methods for Managing Resistance to Change
Method Characteristic Context (where to use) Concern (possible difficulties)
Education and Information people as to the rationale Where resistance is due to lack of May be very time consuming, which, in
Communication for the change; providing information information or misinformation some change situaitons, may be a
Involving people in the change Where resistance is a reaction to a sense of May slow the process and my introduce
and process as active participants exclusion from the process an element of compromise in decisions
Involvement that could reduce the optimality of the
Providing resources – both technical Where resistance is due to anxiety and Requires financial, time and
Support and emotional uncertainty