Resistance to Change in an Organisation
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Published: Wed, 13 Sep 2017
Develop a plan to address “below the surface” resistance to change. With the research you have done so far in the course, how would you, as a manager, facilitate and manage a major change in your organization?
Our company has established procedures and policies created from both a technological perspective (how to do the task) to mutual agreements with the staff leading to policies on expected behaviour etc. For changes and improvements to be successfully implemented, there needs to be not only compliance, but buy-in from staff. In order to implement a major change, a project team would be created. In the NHS, it is often standard to employ the Prince2 project management framework and depending on the nature of the project, this approach would be the probable method. Assembling the optimum project team with the correct skill mix is paramount to the successful execution and implementation of the project.
Bareil (2013), defined resistance to change as a change-specific behavioural response towards a change initiative normally identified by a leader and identified it as the primary reason for change failures. Maurer (1996) described resistance as an inevitable response to change as individuals felt compelled to maintain the status quo especially if they fail to understand the rationale behind the changes in question. Maurer focussed on the poor presentation of changes as being a more significant catalyst for resistance outlining that the assumption of the manager that their change is the only possible direction and the concept that the workforce must be forced to comply would promote resistance among organisation members.
According to Kruger, (xxxx), the principle issue is the established personnel change barriers which require recognition in order to be dealt with effectively. These may be company wide i.e. endemic across the workforce especially in climates with strong culture. In order to demonstrate the issue, Kruger developed a pictorial representation-the Change Management Iceberg which displays the evident and more importantly, the unseen barriers to changes within a company. Kruger lists three management issues that must be addressed in order to achieve successful implementation- Issue Management, Management of Perceptions and Beliefs and Power and Politics Management.
- Issue Management: This represents the top of the iceberg. Key factors are time, cost and quality.
- Management of Perceptions and Beliefs: It is essential to have an empathy for both the evident and covert perceptions of the workforce.
- Power and Politics Management: These can play a pivotal role in the change process and can influence the perceptions and beliefs significantly.
According to McPheat (2014), the optimum approach is to recognise that the change will impact on all personnel at every level within the company and that they will inevitably align into one of four types:
- Promoters-employees who will support the changes and buy-in.
- Potential promoters-probable recruits to the cause however may require further convincing.
- Opponents-those who visibly oppose the change
- Hidden opponents-those who verbally support the changes however secretly oppose it.
This suggests that one of the primary focuses is to develop trust and promote an honest transparency by which to increase buy-in. Middaugh and Robertson (2005) wrote that in order to succeed politically, it is imperative to use expertise wisely, in order to persuade others to buy-in. To empathize with other individuals perceptions of the managers expertise. A manager may consider something to be obvious however understanding that others may not see it as so, facilitates dialogue and change. Involving staff in the implementation of change is paramount to success. Trust cannot be assumed and is developed over a period of time. Showing integrity, treating people fairly and keeping promises over a period of time will build a healthy culture based on trust.
Half (2016) suggested that it was imperative to focus on the benefits of the team in the workplace in order to persuade the employees to buy in and outlined the key points to emphasize.
- There are tangible benefits that are unique to each team that can be bought to the table. If the goal of the team is clearly stated along with the means by which the individual members can contribute, buy-in is more probable. The assignment requires clarity and transparency.
- The importance and significance of the change needs to be emphasized along with the level of prioritisation against the existing workload. Exception reporting needs to be explained so if help is required, it can be sought.
- Prioritisation aside, knee-jerk reactions and decisions are to be avoided and reflection advised as there may be a cosmopolitan make-up in the teams construct and empathy and understanding must be the norm to avoid conflict within the team.
- Bareil, C., (2013). Two Paradigms about resistance to change. Organization Development Journal.31.3 (Fall 2013): 59-71.
- Half, R., (2016, April 29). How (and why) to get employee buy-in. Retrieved March 04, 2017, from https://www.roberthalf.com/employers/hiring-advice/employee-retention/teamwork/team-buy-in
- Maurer, R., (1996). Using resistance to build support for change. The Journal for Quality and Participation.19.3 (Jun 1996): 56.
- McPheat, S., (2014, July 03). The change management iceberg. Retrieved March 04, 2017, from http://www.mtdtraining.com/blog/change-management-iceberg.htm
- Middaugh, D., Robertson, R. (2005). Politics in the workplace. Medsurg Nursing.14.6 (Dec 2005): 393-4.
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