Adults Resistance to Change in the Workforce

Last Updated: 25 May 2020
Essay type: Process
Pages: 8 Views: 119

Change has become an integral part of all organizations for bringing about innovation and creativity in their work procedures. Bringing about change is a complex process since change in one area affects the other area in the organization directly or indirectly.

Change is extremely important if companies and businesses want to survive in the long-run. This is due to the changing needs of the organizations as well as the customers and due to changing internal and external environment. Today, there is an increasing trend towards the development of a learning organization where managers and employees are committed to bring about continuous improvement in the processes and capabilities.

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Such type of an organization can only be formed when everyone working in the company develops a positive attitude towards adapting change. Change might result in efforts to deal with existing problems or with the opportunities available in the external environment. Though change is important and should be initiated in an organization but this does not mean that it can be easily implemented (Hultman, 1998).

Planning Change

Initiation and implementation of change requires proper planning and this planned process should be used to carry out change. If proper planning is not done then the change can fail and the employees’ fear and uncertainty related to it might come true.

If the change fails initially in the organization then it would be highly difficult for the employees to support change in the organization. Firstly, the organization must see a need for change and the forces triggering change may be from the internal as well as external environment.

Internal factors may be related to the company goals and objectives or problems facing the organization whereas the external factors are largely related to the environment such as changing customer tastes or the changing strategies of the competitors (Harvard Business School Press, 2005).

These factors make the organization realize the need for change and then this must be studied properly. The organization should critically evaluate its strengths and weaknesses as well as threats and opportunities so that the right change could be initiated at the right time. After evaluating the need for change, the management should initiate change and this can be done through different ways.

Initiating change requires the recruitment of new and creative employees and this is where the problem starts arising since the adult employees began to resist their recruitment. The management should search for proper solutions which can used to meet the perceived need for change. Search involves observing and analyzing different organizations and making use of knowledge to meet the need.

Creative employees are hired to find the correct solution in order to establish a creative and learning organization. Creative individuals are important since they are open-minded, original and focused in their approach. They are persistent and committed and use teams to work for initiating change.

These creative individuals generate innovative ideas and these individuals are called idea champions. They form new-venture teams for developing and initiating innovative changes in the organization. It is these idea champions and new-venture teams to which the adult employees offer resistance since they perceive them as a threat to their position.

They think that their employment by the organization underestimates their capabilities and qualifications. Sometimes the employees’ resistance is so high that it is impossible to implement the change. For implementing change, this resistance must be overcome or else the process will not proceed further (Hultman, 1998).

There are huge obstacles and problems to be dealt with when implementing change successfully in an organization. This is because employees offer resistance to change and this resistance can be attributed to several reasons:

·One of the reasons that employee resist change is that by implementing the new strategy or innovative idea, it will take away something valuable from the employees.

It might be the loss of power, position or any other pay benefit. An employee’s self-interest is the most important to him and this loss can become the biggest obstacle in the way of implementing change (Hultman, 1998).

·Another reason is that employees are unable to understand the purpose behind the change and therefore, they cannot trust the organizational move. If the employees have a negative attitude towards the change initiator then they will offer their full resistance to implementing his idea.

They cannot trust his idea for change and might think that its implementation will bring something negative to them. Therefore, lack of understanding and mutual trust becomes another factor for resisting change in organizations (Harvard Business School Press, 2005).

·Employees are also afraid of implementing change due to the uncertainty factor associated with the change. They get worried about the consequences of change and thus, do not offer their support towards it. They might also be worried as the new technology or new procedure requires more talent and creativity which they might not be able to provide (Markham, 1999).

·Lastly, the goals of the employees may be different from the goals of the organization. They might not be able to assess the change from the organization point of view and therefore, they disagree over the benefits resulting from the change (Jellison, 1993).

These are the main reasons why employees offer resistance to change in an organization. Once an organization has the need for change then it looks for possible solutions through which the need can be overcome. Change requires innovation and creativity in an organization without which an organization cannot progress and will stagger behind.

For initiating innovative and creative ideas, the organization starts hiring creative individuals in different departments. There are idea champions and new-venture teams formed with creative individuals who see the need for change and initiate it productively. Now here is where the main problem rises and this will center our research paper.

By hiring creative individuals to form new-venture teams for developing innovation the organization attempts to change the workforce of the organization.

Before offering resistance to change itself, the employees especially the aging ones offer their first resistance to change in the workforce. The research paper will focus the discussion on this issue of adult’s resistance to change in the workforce (Goldstein, 2001).

Change in the workforce

The way a business is done is determined by its workforce. And changing workforce changes the way of doing business or in other words, bringing a change in the way of doing business requires a change in the workforce. Companies are recruiting and hiring young employees due to their creative and dynamic personalities.

They are able to see things differently and want transition in things that are still being done in traditional way (Pihulyk , 2003). Their ideas and solutions are different from what their parents had to offer and thus, they want the traditional approaches and strategies to change in an organization.

They show their dissatisfaction in different areas of the organization and want them to change for the good. They are practical in their approach in that they can see the organization strengths and weaknesses and are aware of the threats and opportunities in the organization external environment and thus, develop a desire to change accordingly.

But there is also a darker side to this brighter situation and this darker side is due to the existing employees and workers of an organization. Organizations have usually experienced and committed workers who are working their since years and thus are quite adult. These employees work in their own traditional and routine way and do not want any change in their style of working.

When an organization feels a need to hire young employees, the adults feel a threat to their power, position and prestige since they are not capable enough to work like the young ones. They feel threatened by the young employees who have more creative and novel solutions to organizational problems and work for bringing about change. At this stage the adults offer resistance to the recruitment of young employees in the workforce because it will not only threaten their position but also bring about a change in their style of working (Hultman, 1998).

Aged employees consider themselves experienced enough and are not ready to tolerate younger employees imposing themselves and their ideas for change. They want a stable work environment and get negative feelings if some one tries to challenge their style of working.

This is mainly the most important reason why adults and aged people offer so much resistance to recruiting ever energetic and efficient young employees in the organization’s workforce.

It has been always said that new and young employees are important for the success of an organization because they are able to see things from a different perspective which requires change, innovation and creativity. They want the organization to become a learning organization progressing on the path of continuous improvement and innovative problem solving.

An organization becomes successful by the way a business is done it which in turn is determined by the employees working there so for making an organization successful talented young employees should be hired and trained for working with the organization (Harvard Business School Press, 2005).

Today, the business expectations are rising and customers are becoming ever-demanding. The competition is becoming fiercer with everyone striving to attain the competitive edge.

The organization that develops a positive attitude towards welcoming change will be able to continuously improve itself at the times of problems and opportunities and thus, this requires the contribution of the talented young working people who have just graduated and are fresh with the knowledge of business management.

They have a tendency to work in teams because they realize the fact that a team can accomplish more what individuals can achieve. On the other hand, the adults do not appreciate collective working and work individually instead. The young workers are more popularly known as Generation Y whereas the adults are being referred to as Generation X.

It has been estimated that 70% of 21-year old Generation Y people are in the US workforce today which shows an increasing trend towards young employees (Jellison, 1993).

Moreover, the new generation adapts to technology changes easily and want to work with new and modern procedures but the older generation sees technology with a negative eye and does not adapts to it readily. This is not to say that adults and aged people are unimportant in an organization, in fact they are the most important assets of an organization.

These assets can not be replaced because their age has given them an experience to deal with problems which is hard to find. Young people find most creative and novel solution to a problem whereas the experienced employees find accurate solutions through their experience. This means that both generations should be made to work together if the organization wants to rise higher than any other organization in the industry or outside the industry.

There is an increasing amount of Generational Conflict in the organizations and it is predicted that by 2010 it is going to increase considerably (Hultman, 1998). By Generational Conflict, we mean the conflict between two or more generations and here we are referring to the two generations of X and Y (Pihulyk , 2003).

This is due to the age diversification in the workforce as young and talented employees are being increasingly hired by the businesses. The new generation will cause the erosion of old work ethics and they will require a more flexible workplace.

Moreover, women representation will increase hundred percent in the upcoming years. There exists a multi-generational and multi-cultural workforce and this will continue to grow in the future years. Since this is going to increase therefore, management must properly plan for accommodating this change in their business as the demographic change can have positive as well as negative implications.

The policies and procedures must be adapted for accommodating this change so that there should be new values for the new generation (Rosenburg, 2005).

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Adults Resistance to Change in the Workforce. (2016, Jun 18). Retrieved from

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