Management of organizational change and resistance to change

This essay investigates the organizational change management technique and presents an insightful analysis of why some businesses resist change.

This is an important topic that has been considered and advocated by organizations all around the world. An organization that embraces right tactics and accepts change will undoubtedly reap the benefits of the impending great shift.

This essay advises an organization on which specific areas to focus on when commencing a change process within the organization.

It discusses the fundamental causes of resistance to change as well as potential solutions to this puzzle. Research has it that, the failure of many change initiatives by an organization is brought about by resistance to change (Sohal, 19980). Resistance to change in an organization can be very costly and time consuming to the change process itself.

Change, undoubtedly, is a very crucial topic in change management.

And if considered seriously by any particular organization, it can help achieve the recompenses of its transformation. This essay gives a theoretical exposition if this crucial topic of change management. It reviews the study for change management and gives the sources of resistance to change.

Key Words: Change Management, Change Initiatives, Resistance to change

Table of Contents

Abstract 2

Introduction 3

Change approaches and tools 3

Change Tools 4

Resistance to change 4

Reasons for Resistance to change 5

Overcoming resistance to change 5

Conclusion 6




Due to the advanced technology, growing of globalization and innovation witnessed in the field of organizations, change is now considered an important part of a modern organization for it to survive the ever-changing business environment. And to achieve future desired changes and handle change, change management is recommended to aid in the transitioning for organizations and individuals (Hughes, 2006). Change at the organizational level will be determined by what strategy the organization uses. And in choosing the active organization strategy, external and internal environments must be considered. It must be noted that organizational change usually involves some threat to either your job or your personal routine that is deep rooted within you. And as such, organizational change is pegged upon individual change. That if change can be adopted at individual level, there is a consequential assured success of the entire organization (Thornhill, Lewis, Millmore and Saunders, 2000).

Change approaches and tools

The entire change process seeks to address three states: the current state, transition state, and the future state. For change approach, an organization will choose to use either an emergent approach or a planned approach. The former, on the one hand, relies much on contingency and unpredictable environments and is generated from many interrelated variables that help shape the company. It is flexible and flawless. It serves to change organizational contexts completely (MacGuire, 2006). The latter, on the other hand, is tailored to achieve effectiveness improvement of operations using changed programs with the perception that one change is a sequence of hierarchical change applying to all parties. One advantage of the emergent approach is that changes in an organization can be effected within a very short time and can easily blend to the work process. It is highly recommended in times of economic crisis where rapid and immediate changes are desired. However, in some situations, practicalities of this approach may be questioned due to the contingencies and uncertainties involved. Planned approach ensures greater management control as its control is driven hierarchically.

Change Tools

PESTEL, culture web, force fields, SWOT analysis and Porter's five forces are the available tools available for analyzing the external and internal business of an organization and to provoke change. PRESTEL analyzes the macro-environmental factors such as law, politic, culture and environment, that impact on success and failure of the organization. Culture web deals with the internal environment of the organization. It points out the current obstacles to change and gives direction to change the organizational culture. Force fields, like culture web, deals with the internal environment of an organization. It however, serves different function. It is adopted to change an individual through identifying their driving and restraining forces. It suggests that individuals should particularly change their attitude though unfreezing, refreezing and learning processes. SWOT analysis focuses on the strength, weaknesses, and opportunities of the organization and the threats that are likely to face the organization outside the organization.

Resistance to change

It is quite simple to change the things that do not matter to us. Change becomes difficult when you begin to alter the status quo and change that which people care most. Any individual will always show resistance to change as a response to a major change. In organizations, change is often interpreted as promotion or demotion, and many employees will not embrace it because they see it as a threat to their future employment (Pardo Del Val and Martinez, 2003). Among managers, many fear that change could bring a difference in opinion which could escalate to conflicts within the organization.

Reasons for Resistance to change

Firstly, it is no doubt that both top managers and their employees resist change. Organizational members may have psychological difficulties in accepting change because of the uncertainties and ambiguities surround the whole process. The thought of changing tasks and having to get new partners will certainly cause resistance to change. Secondly, both managers and employees fear that the routine of doing things will change. And so changes that alter habitual patterns will not be embraced with resistance. Thirdly, a manager may resist change because of a threat to his position or power. A change that makes the manager lose face, current status and prestige will certainly be met with great resistance. Finally, change in technology will be resisted (MacGuire, 2006). Employees will perceive such change as added responsibility and add-up to more unwanted work.

Overcoming resistance to change

Resistance to change if uncontrolled or done away with will always have serious effects on the working of the organization. There is need to change such resistance on an individual and organizational level for the greater good of the organization. The following are some of the recommended ways of overcoming resistance. Firstly, the organization should take deliberate steps to educate and communicate to the employees up front of the desired change to expel all the rumors and the uncertainties surrounding the change. Secondly, in situations where the organization lacks adequate information of the desired change, they should involve the employees. That way they are likely to buy the change rather than resist it. Lastly, and perhaps most important, managers may employ negotiation and employment techniques. Managers may decide to offer incentives to those resisting change to avoid the potential bad effects of change.


Resistance, to change particularly is normal and natural. Such resistance comes when there is a threat to something that the individual values most. It may arise from a formed opinion or even from a genuine understanding of the effects. Either way, organizations must change. It should be reiterated that change management should be adopted both at an individual and organizational level to initiate change and help the organization work more efficiently towards the desired goal. Organizations must identify different external and internal environments to adopt the appropriate approach tool to implement change effectively.


Hughes, M. (2006). Change management. Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

MacGuire, J. M. (2006). Putting nursing research findings into practice: research utilization as an aspect of the management of change. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65-71

Waddell, D., & Sohal, A. S. (1998). Resistance: a constructive tool for change management. Management decision, 36(8), 543-548.

Pardo Del Val, M., & Martínez Fuentes, C. (2003). Resistance to change: a literature review and empirical study. Management Decision, 148-155.

Thornhill, A., Lewis, P., Millmore, M., & Saunders, M. (2000). A Human Resource Strategy Approach: Managing Change. Financial Times/Prentice Hall, London.

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