Friday, May 17, 2013

How to Overcome Resistance as a Result of Change

In the business arena, whether or not change is planned or forced upon an organization, companies and staff must adapt to changes smoothly to remain viable, as there will always be resistance. Managing employee resistance to change is the very important part of the management practices and organizational behavior.


In a nutshell, organizational change can generate skepticism and resistance in employees, making it sometimes even impossible to implement. In this post, we will talk about how to overcome resistance as a result of change.


Change approaches to deal with resistance to change:

1. Educate and communicate.

When information is not properly handed over and there is deficiency in the interpretation on the changes, employees will be hesitant to follow as they don’t have enough awareness on what to do next or how to react. There would be lack of enthusiasm therefore bringing about resistance. Hence, there must be up-front communication and education to guide them in appreciating the logic in the change effort. Additionally, this will reduce unfounded rumors on the effects of change in the organization.

2. Encourage and make staff be involved and enable them to participate in making the change.

When staffs share their ideas for example in the new technology device the company is buying to eliminate much manual labor and improve operational efficiency, they won’t be worried that their jobs would be replaced and be deemed useless. Rather, their self-esteem may be heightened since they can feel proud that they are partly contributors to the good impact the new innovation will bring to the organization.


3. Support and facilitate staff in their work toward the change.

Naturally, people will exhibit some resistance at first but it’s the manager’s responsibility to help workers deal with fear and anxiety during the transition period. The basis of resistance to change is likely to be the perception that there some form of detrimental effect occasioned by the change in the organization. This approach is concerned with provision of special training and counseling.

4. Negotiate and agree.

The idea is that managers can combat resistance by offering incentives to employees not to resist change. Line managers are prime agents in helping employees to lower their defenses. They should be able to address individual concerns employees might have about job security, wages and loss of control after the change.

5. Manipulate and co-opt employees who resist the change.

Co-option involves the patronizing gesture in bringing a person into a change management planning group for the sake of appearances rather than their substantive contribution. This often involves selecting leaders of the resisters to participate in the change effort. These leaders can be given a symbolic role in decision making without threatening the change effort. Still, if these leaders feel they are being tricked they are likely to push resistance even further than if they were never included in the change effort leadership.

Wrap Up

We have just learned five ways on how to overcome resistance as a result of change. To explicit and implicit coercion, whereby managers can explicitly or implicitly enforce employees to accept change by making clear that resisting change can lead to losing their jobs, firing them, transferring them to other organizations or not promoting them even if they deserve it.