Why is there resistance to change in organizations? Resistance occurs when people witness a period in which the organizational values, lessons and experiences of the past no longer provide a reliable guide to the work profile of the future. Resistance also occurs because change threatens established job and social relations. A perceived threat to job security, loss of seemingly useful expertise, shifts in influence, and changes in customs increase fear and reduce the happiness and wellbeing of the organization’s members. Some of the fears may be real; others may be imagined. Change cannot successfully occur if the workforce does not adopt and accept the changes. Consider how many reports of industrial action you see on TV or read in the papers. It is just not good enough to explain what will change and how it will change, the important factor is why it will change. This chapter discusses resistance as a central concept in managing change. It attempts to play down the notion that members of an organization are at fault every time they resist. There are always some potentially positive intentions that persuade organization members to resist. Capitalizing on such intentions provides opportunities for raising useful issues. This can be achieved by fostering dialogue and providing opportunities for people to talk about the way they see change.
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