Organizational Change

Organizational Change

Change is a quite complex process. It is the nature of people that nobody instantly becomes ready to change. Resistance to change is the most baffling problem, which the manager has to face. The resistance to change may be caused by a host, economic, social or psychological factors. It may be implicit and explicit and individual or collective. Implicit resistance may be manifested through resignation, tardiness, low morale, and lack of motivation, increased absenteeism and increased requests of transfer. Explicit response on the other hand may assume the form of strikes, go slow tactics, violent behavior and sabotaging activities. There may be the resistance on the individual level as well as on organizational level.

Reasons for employees resist to change
Following are the reason to change:
1. Individual resistance: Individual is considered as the main source of resistance to change due to their perception, personalities and needs, because of the following reason individual resist the change.
  • Habit: Once we become habituated on anything, it will be difficult to change that habit. As human beings, we are creatures of habit. Changes in old work habits create resistance. Employees tend to respond in accustomed work. 
  • Security: Employees may fear loss of job security, reduction in pay and increase in workloads. The cost of change may be higher than benefits of change.
  • Economic reasons: These include the fear of technological unemployment, fear of reduced work hours and consequently less pay after change, fear of demotion and low wages, obsolesce of skills, etc. Whenever people sense that new machinery pass a threatening challenge for their existence, they resist change. For example, many managers in today’s industries are resisting the introduction computers. Further, when people perceive any psychological degradation of the job they are performing, they simply try to maintain status quo and resist change.
  • Social reasons: Change often results in disturbance of the existing social relationships. People in work organizations develop some sort of information relationships and any change breaking these relationships will be strongly resisted. Group pressure also brings about resistance to change in individuals.
2. Organizational resistance: Organization itself is another source for resistance to change. Many times, the resistance to change is initiated by the organization as a whole or by the top management. Following are the main reasons for organizational resistance. They are
  • Flexibility in organizational structure: Some organizational structure has built in mechanism for resistance to change. For instance, in a typical bureaucratic structures when chain of command is clearly spelled out, authority, responsibilities and duties are clearly defined, flow of information is stressed through proper, channel and the entire pattern is highly mechanistic and rigid, and nay change in the organization structure or pattern would either be possible or strongly reputed. 
  • Resource constraints: Organizational change usually invoices a huge expenditure and sufficiency of resource usually is a major constraint. In such a situation, change is resisted by the departmental heads and employees. This is true, when government forces the organizations to introduce certain technological, organizational, or social changes but does not provide adequate human and physical resources, the organizations oppose such changes. Similarly when trade unions pressurize management to introduce certain changes for the safety, welfare and comforts of the employees, the management put resistance to such changes for lack of availability of funds.
  • Fear of loss of investment: In case when organizations have invested a huge capital in their permanent assets and training of employees, they are afraid of their capital being sunk, if they introduce a new technology.

Approaches to Managing Organizational Change

The following techniques are commonly employed by managers in order to overcome resistance to change.
  1. Education, communication and training: The useful technique is to educate the employee who resists to change. The concerned manager should clearly explain what the change is, why it is likely to be introduced and why the changes is required. Likewise, they should give special focus to enhance the employee skill. For e.g. give basic computer training interpersonal development, capacity building or and so fourth. 
  2. Participation and involvement: Another technique is to involvement and participation of employee in change programme. It creates them psychological ownership.
  3. Facilitation and support: Another strategy for managing resistance to change is providing support and empathy to those employees who have trouble dealing with the change, counseling and therapy, skill training are examples of support to employee.
  4. Negotiation: Negotiation particularly deals with a group of powerful individual who resists to change. For this specific reward package can be used to deal with a powerful individual. However, it increases the cost of organization but it is assumed that if powerful individuals are ready to avoid resistance to change, s/he convinced rest of his team mates.
  5. Coercion: Last on the list of suggested tactics is coercion. The organization as a last resort, can apply direct threats on the resisters to make them ready accept the proposed change. Threats of transfer, loss of promotion, negative performance evaluation, and dissatisfactory recommendation are the example of coercion.
To sum up, though there are various ways to reduce resistance to change. Thus, above all, consensus, involvement and ownership should be encouraged for overcoming resistance to change.


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