Resistance to Change Management Why Do Some Essay

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Resistance to Change Management

Why do some employees resist change within the structure of the organization? What can management do to bring those employees along as the company transitions to another strategy? This paper addresses those issues and other related to resistance to change.

The Literature on Resistance to Change Management

Roy Smollan, senior lecturer in Management at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, notes that some companies refer to resistance to change as a "brickwall" or a "dangerous roadblock to transformation" (Smollan, 2011, p. 12). Resistance to change is normally seen as a dynamic where employees refuse to carry through with authorized instructions, but the real, ultimate problem may be found in the frustration of the manager who sees things are not falling into place (Smollan, 13). "Handle resistance with care" and don't assume it is "willful or ignorant"; engage in "full and honest communication" (Smollan, 15).

An article in the McKinsey Quarterly discusses how some companies are using "large-scale data gathering" in order to put in place changes that may need to take place. In fact the authors suggest that companies ranging from telecommunications to pharmaceuticals are using "big data" strategies as the "new frontier" of competitive differentiation (Bughin, et al., 2011). Gathering "big data" can mean learning more about consumer behaviors that can offer a company a competitive edge. However, before launching into a big data transition, companies make a mistake if they "rush immediately in action-planning mode"; rather than that, "thoughtful planning" is a better approach, lest there be "friction" because the new approach "goes against the grain of an organization" (Bughlin, p. 4). In one instance, for example, an insurer used a big data strategy to increase market share, but sales agents worried "…that their bonuses, which were tied to profitability, would suffer if the market share came at the expense of margins" (Bughlin, p.
4). Hence, the need for thoughtful planning to avoid employee resistance.

What happens when a company initiates a change strategy, but it doesn't work out? In the Academy of Management Journal (Mantere, et al., 2012,) the authors point out that when management attempts to revert back to the strategy used prior to the attempted change, employees tend to resist. The authors of this article go into great detail as to why the planned change did not take place and one possibility is that management may have "intentionally undermined existing organizational meaning" in order to pave the way for the expected change (Mantere, 174). When organizational members are asked to revert to their previous patterns, because there has been a "discontinuity with a trajectory of already initiated change," they are expected to simply "let go of expected schemes" and this is not always achievable, Mantere explains. Hence, the importance of having a proven, workable plan for change in the first place.

The significance of the "degree of change" can be measured by how those who are affected "…perceive and react to it" (Agboola, et al., 2011, p. 2). Certainly change means moving from "known to unknown," and hence an uncertain future can be approached negatively for logical, understandable reasons, Agboola writes. Change brings resistance and Agboola explains that the resistance actually arises from: organizational politics; lack of understanding; inappropriate timing; inadequate resources, inappropriate use of….....

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