Causes Of Change Resistance Among Employees Business Essay

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Nowadays, change is everywhere in an organization. It occurs constantly and sometimes at a fast pace. As change is part of daily organizational dynamics, resistance to change can in fact cripple an organization. Resistance is an unavoidable reaction to any key change. Individuals unsurprisingly rush to preserve the status quo if ever they feel that their security or positions are at stake. Folger & Skarlicki (1999) put forward that change in organization can create uncertainty and resistance in employees, thus creating difficulty and impossibilities to implement organizational improvements.

If management does not comprehend, and accept to make an effort to work with resistance , it can deteriorate even the most well- intentioned and well- conceived change effort. Coetsee(1999) says that any management capability to get maximum benefits from change depends on how efficiently they create and uphold a climate that reduces resistant behavior and encourages acceptance and support.

Change resistance does not come from employees only but there are certain organization which does not want to change that is they are resistant to change, as certain managers think that they have been working in this field for years and they do know how to do the right things, and change management will not affect their effectiveness at work. Below we will discuss why managers are actually resistant to change.

Employee resistance can be defined as a behavior which intends to safeguard an individual from the effects of real or imagined change (cited in Dent &Goldberg, 1999, p. 34). Zaltman & Duncan (1977) defines resistance as any behavior that helps to sustain the status quo in the face of pressure to alter the status quo. (cited in Bradley, 2000, p. 76). In the opinion of Folger & Skarlicki (1999) resistance is employee behavior that pursues to challenge, disturb, or upset prevailing expectations, discourses, and power relations. Piderit (2000) believes that the definition of the term resistance must integrate wider scope. She states that "a review of past empirical research discloses three different emphases in conceptualizations of resistance that is as a cognitive state, as an emotional state, and as a behavior"

Causes of change resistance among employees.

It is not easy for organizations to escape change, as new concepts leads to organizational growth .Change do take place for a number of reasons such as a rise or fall in funding, acquisition of new technology, new missions, visions or goal and the use of different strategies to acquire new members or clients. Changes do produce new opportunities; however they are met with criticism very often from resistant employees who does not want to accept change. There are a lot of reasons why there is so much resistance to change which is as follows:

Poor communication

Inside an organization, change usually start with key decision makers as it is their responsibility to pass on information to team members and make sure that all questions and complaints about change are well answered and understood before change can be implemented. With poor communication, employees will not get it clearly what their manager really want and how they will actually attain it.unfortunately, as a news of change spreads out through the hierarchy, information's are sometimes biased and employees end up getting incorrect second hand information which they find difficult to accept.Hence poor communication leads to resistance to change.

Lack of Skills

Sometimes with change that occur, there is a need for employees to acquire new set of skills. This does not allow them to accept change as they fear if ever they do not do well or adapt to situations then new employees who are well qualified may take their place in the organization. Some changes can be challenging and prove to be very intimidating for the employees at the end. That is why without training employees will not accept change.


Self-interest often get in the way of change and thus refuse to accept it, as some want to sustain the status quo to better advance their own personal schedules whereas some have other motivations. Thus in the end, employees prefers to act in their own self-interest rather than considering the organization benefits as a whole thus resisting change.

Feelings excluded

There are times when organizations often ask for input on part of employees thus ensuring that everyone has a chance to express their opinion and put forward their ideas. But if ever employees hear of unexpected change from their employers and they had no idea about it nor their opinions were asked, then they may feel that they were omitted from the decision making process and resist to change as there is a feeling of insecurity.

Lack of Trust

Trust is an important factor for a successful organization, thus in an environment where there are not adequate trust, employees may feel that there will be menacing intention for change. When employees get the feeling of not trusting their managers, it is not easy for them to accept change. They may even link the changes to some negative assumptions like they will end up losing their job. In addition, managers who do not have trust in their employees will not consent to employee's participation in the change process even if it is important.

Poor Timing

Employees may resist change due to poor timing of organizational change.It can happen that when employees have currently grasp skills for recent decision making and immediately employers introduced something completely new. This will lead to resistance. Another situation can be that, due to change introduced, employee may be shifted to another country while the same person's mother is critically ill. In such situation there will be change resistance.

Proposed solutions to eradicate resistance among employees.

Though every organization is different in their own ways, there are specific best practices that can help to overcome resistance in businesses. The proposed solutions are as follows:

Education and Communication

The main motive is to make sure that employees do comprehend that change is needed for the betterment of the organization so that the firm can move forward. It may be essential to use different medium of communications so that employees understand the concept well and also it can actually capture and maintain interest of employees.

Training and Support

Organizations must make sure that there are training programs taking place to make sure that employees are provided with necessary skills and knowledge to operate effectively in the change environment. Essential counseling should be provided to employees who may lose their jobs or position as a result of change process.

Participatory Approach

With employee's participation, change process may results in employees taking part in change process and this is a great thing as it lessens the levels of fears and tension cropping up in their mind. As such they will feel that they are very close to the organization. This participatory approach may requires cooperation with employee representatives.


Another method to deal with potential resistance to change is to interchange something of value to reduce resistance. For example if the resistance is concentrated to a certain group of people then management can negotiate for a specific reward package that can meet their needs so that they can agree to change. Negotiation can be used as an approach when resistance arises from a powerful source. However it does have a cost and it is also probable that when a change agent negotiates with one party to evade resistance, they may be exposed to the possibility of being blackmailed by other individuals in positions of power.

Manipulation and cooptation

Manipulation is an effort to influence employees. Twisting and falsifying details for them to look more attractive, concealing unwanted data and generating false reports for employees to accept change are all examples of manipulation. If management threatens to close down a specific plant and if ever that plant's employees fail to consent an across the board pay cut and if the threat is actually false, then management is using manipulation to avoid resistance to change.

Cooptation is a form of both manipulation and participation. It ''buy off'' the leaders of the resistant group of employees by providing them a key role in the change decision. The leader's guidance is asked, not to help getting a better decision, but to get their authorization. Both manipulation and cooptation are rather cheap and easy ways to obtain support of opponents but the tactics can rebound if the targets become conscious that they have been tricked or simply used. Once exposed, the change agent's accessibility may drop to zero.

The proposed solutions are simple guidelines and situations do vary. The level of resistance will vary from situation to situation and so will be the stakes involved. It may also be possible to use incentives to attract employees to buy into the change process. Furthermore, even where there is careful planning, the unpredictability in the change process cannot be completely eradicated .If organization are indeed dedicated for change to occur then these approaches will surely fight resistance to change.

Negative Effects of Resistance to Change to an Organization

Resistance to change can affect the organization in a negative way which is as follows:

When employees resist change occurring at the place of work, they may feel less confident and hopeful about their professional future with the company.This mainly happens when there is a lack of communication concerning change.Amongst other negative effects of change resistance,lowered morale can be spread throughout the whole staff,which can results in recruiting and retention.

In addition When more time is spent in resisting change within the organization, employees tend to be less focused in their daily routines relating to their job. This issue affect the level of effectiveness and output among the staff, which can definitely affect the company's outcome. A lower level of effectiveness may fly straight in the face of the reason for changes, as changes are often made to become a more effective and productive company.

A disruptive work environment many occur among staff, which is another cause for change resistance. Employees may cause uproars with outbursts about change or an argumentative attitude with management staff. They may spread the same negativity among other staff members, influencing to act in the same manner, which will definitely cause greater disturbance among employees

Therefore there are several ways through which negative effects can be alleviated among staff. From conducting staff discussions in which everyone can voice out their objections regarding change to conducting extra training to aid staff adapting ,taking steps for employees to feel more comfortable with change may go a long way to create a more beneficial effects from the change than negative ones.

Resistance to change at organizational level

As said before resistance does not only come from employees, but everyone in the organization and this include managers as well,and there are various reasons to support this statement which are as follows:

Loss of power and control.

The main cause why managers resist change is that they fear that they may end up losing power in the organization as change somehow exclude some things that mangers did have control at a time which they do not want to lose, or they fear that with the introduction of something new they might not have control over a particular things at work. Some managers do think of change as a violations on their independence at work and for some change is considered as a personal attack on them. Managers often responded to change initiative as a ''battle for turf''

Overload of current tasks, pressures of daily activities and limited resources.

Change is considered as an extra work load for managers and this often due to lack of resources. Sometimes due to lack of resources with which the work could have been easily done,the managers have to do the task using other ways with which the work is more time consuming at times When pressures from day to day activities are high. At times managers are expected to carry on with their routine work in addition to the tasks that was applied during change.

Lack of skills and experience needed to manage the change effectively.

Managers are scared of the new demand that would be required by implementing change in the organization. Some were uneasy concerning their role in managing the change while some were afraid of allegations and some do not really have the experience in managing employees resistance.managers are also apprehensive about the new demands and responsibilities that are placed on the by the new business processes,systems and technologies.

Fear of job loss.

There is always a fear of losing one's job when it concerns change in the organization, managers are often insecure about their job security as they fear they might be replaced if ever they do not perform well due to lack of skills and appropriate knowledge, that is why there are times when managers do not want change to occur in the organization.

Disagreement with the new way.

At times managers disagree completely to the change as they think that change is not the ultimate solution when it comes to fixing a problem that is taking place in an organization. Often managers who did not partake in the planning phase of the change process tended to resist change as they wer not consulted and some managers resist change as the solution to the problem was not generated from them.

Threat of power on an organizational level.

With time, some groups of people, departments or others sectors in the organization turn out to be more powerful, and that is which there is a tendency to resist change as they fear that after implementing change in the company they will end up losing their power in the organization and employees might not look up to them as they were earlier and at no cost they want this to occur.