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Posted: September 7th, 2023

Change in Organizations: Understanding Resistance and Facilitating Adjustment

Change in an Organization

This chapter involves change and the response to change in an organization. If you feel uncomfortable already you probably are in the majority. Let’s read the scenario below and try to understand why change is so difficult.

Scenario: Imagine the days before COVID when we were all in a classroom. Do you remember back then? Well, think about where you decided to sit in a classroom. Did you find that you usually chose the same seat in most of the classrooms that you were in? If not, then what usually made you choose the seat that you decided to sit in? Now if you were to sit in a seat in the first class, how likely were you to sit in the same seat after that? Have I made a point? So change is hard, and we all have gone through some kind of change, small or large, in our lives at school, at our workplace, and at home.


Read the information above and then answer the following questions:
Describe what the circumstances were at your workplace when you had to change something
How did you adjust to the change?
Were there colleagues that could not adjust to the change?
Why do you think, in terms of change theory, that there were colleagues that could not adjust?
Your paper should be:
One (1) page
Typed according to APA Writing StyleLinks to an external site. for margins, formatting and spacing standards.
Typed your paper in a Microsoft Word document, save the file, and then upload the file.
Upload your file by clicking “Upload File”.

Change in Organizations: Understanding Resistance and Facilitating Adjustment
Change is a constant in today’s dynamic business environment. Organizations must continually adapt and evolve to remain competitive. However, change can be difficult for employees and provoke resistance. Understanding why people resist change and facilitating their adjustment is crucial for successful organizational transformation. This article will explore common sources of resistance to change and evidence-based strategies for overcoming resistance and supporting employees through the change process.
Sources of Resistance to Change
There are several reasons why employees may resist organizational change, even when change is necessary. One of the most common sources of resistance is a fear of the unknown (Armenakis & Bedeian, 1999). When facing change, people feel uncertain about how the changes will impact their roles, responsibilities, relationships, and job security. This uncertainty causes anxiety and discomfort that leads to resistance.
A second source of resistance is a low tolerance for change. Some individuals simply dislike disruption to routines and prefer stability and predictability (Oreg, 2006). Frequent or continuous change can be exhausting for those with a low tolerance. Third, some employees may perceive that a change will have negative personal consequences such as increased workload, loss of status, or diminished pay (Piderit, 2000). The perception that one will be worse off because of change fuels resistance.
Finally, an individual’s belief that they have no control or input regarding the change can breed resistance (Wanberg & Banas, 2000). Feeling powerless and not being involved in decision making causes people to feel that changes are being imposed upon them against their will. This perceived lack of autonomy and voice triggers psychological reactance and resistance behaviors.
Overcoming Resistance to Change
Given these common sources of resistance, organizations can take steps to facilitate adjustment and reduce resistance to change. One strategy is increasing participation and involvement (Armenakis & Harris, 2002). Allowing employees to have input into change planning and implementation through committees or focus groups gives them a sense of control and ownership over the changes. This involvement reduces uncertainty and reactance.
Organizations should also focus on effective communication throughout the change process (Lewis, 2019). Leaders must clearly explain the reasons for change, anticipated impacts, timelines, and expectations. They should directly address people’s concerns in an open and honest manner. Frequent two-way communication that gives employees opportunities to ask questions and receive timely answers helps reduce uncertainty and misinformation.
Providing support, resources, and training can also help employees adjust and embrace change (Rafferty & Restubog, 2017). Support may include coaching, mentoring programs, or employee assistance resources to help people cope with stress. Training equips employees with new skills and knowledge required for their changing roles. Ensuring people have what they need to succeed with changes minimizes perceptions that changes will have only negative impacts.
Finally, celebrating small wins and successes along the way can maintain momentum and morale during organizational transformation (Kotter, 2012). Recognizing teams or individuals who are successfully implementing changes reinforces the value of their efforts and builds confidence in the change initiative. It also provides evidence that the changes will lead to improved outcomes.
In summary, understanding why people resist change is key to overcoming resistance and facilitating successful adjustment. Strategies like involvement, communication, support, and recognition can address common sources of resistance and help gain employee buy-in for organizational changes. With a well-planned change management process that considers human factors, organizations can navigate change more smoothly and achieve intended benefits.
Armenakis, A. A., & Bedeian, A. G. (1999). Organizational change: A review of theory and research in the 1990s. Journal of Management, 25(3), 293–315.
Armenakis, A. A., & Harris, S. G. (2002). Crafting a change message to create transformational readiness. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 15(2), 169–183.
Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading change. Harvard Business Review Press.
Lewis, L. K. (2019). Organizational change: Creating change through strategic communication (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.
Oreg, S. (2006). Personality, context, and resistance to organizational change. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 15(1), 73–101.
Piderit, S. K. (2000). Rethinking resistance and recognizing ambivalence: A multidimensional view of attitudes toward an organizational change. Academy of Management Review, 25(4), 783–794.
Rafferty, A. E., & Restubog, S. L. D. (2017). Why do employees dare to care about change? The roles of identity and psychological contract breaches. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 53(3), 270–290.
Wanberg, C. R., & Banas, J. T. (2000). Predictors and outcomes of openness to changes in a reorganizing workplace. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(1), 132–142.

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