Managing Resistance to Change in Organizations

Last Updated: 02 Apr 2023
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It is a matter of fact that change is essential and inevitable part of the modern society and it significance is really dominant and great. Every public and private companies/organizations are subjected to rapid and frequent changes, because the world changes as well. A location and size of company doesn’t matter. Simply saying, it is practically impossible for the company to avoid changes, because they are phenomena which are universally accepted. Modern managers are working on finding ways how to staff a sense of control over changing situations. Actually resistance to change doesn’t mean that that the staff is against them, it means that they object only the way the changes are implemented. (Organizational Change 2006)

Staff resists to changes simply because the reason for the change is unclear for them. Negative reactions can be caused by, for example, by ambiguity in jobs, costs and equipment.  The next reason is that staff wasn’t consulted about the possible changes and they appear to be an accomplished fact. It means that employees are willing to know what is going on in organization, especially if their jobs may be affected.

The third reason of resistance is when the possible changes may threaten the existing patterns of working relationships between employees. People resist to changes also when they are not satisfied with personnel, monies and timetables or when the benefits for introducing changes are inadequate for the involved trouble. Especially staff is against changes when their power or status in organization is affected. Therefore, managers should tactfully introduce changes so that the majority of employees will be satisfied.(Rosenberg 20)

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The most important task for managers is to make their firms learning organizations. There are many tactics and approaches, but the most proper approach is to teach the staff well providing relevant stimuli for such learning. Different teaching and education programs may be successfully implemented. Also bonuses and personal approvals are allowed. Employees actually should be highly motivated. (Yerkes 462)

Innovations are very important if the firm/organization wants to remain competitive in modern environment. Innovation is introduction of new methods and things with a definite purpose to improve the organization’s performance. Innovation is combination of knowledge applied to new service, processes and products.

Organizational innovation involves creative ideas in order to make “tangible difference in the domain in which the innovation occurs”. (Hyde 64) Innovation is characterized by the following issues: relative advantage meaning that innovations have to produce significant improvements to be adapted; simplicity meaning that innovation should be easily understood and presented; inexpensiveness; easy to try meaning that new method should be easily introduced and abandoned if necessary; easy to measure meaning that benefits such as time, efficiency and money should be easily calculated.(Hyde 64)

It is apparent that stresses are also inevitable part in each organization. There are many potential sources of stress within organizational structure. For example, organization size may be a stressor.  Large organizations sometimes cause the sense of helplessness among employees. The next source is technology used by an organization for products or service production. Design of organization may negatively affect employees creating the sense of being controlled as a machine.

The additional stress sources are personal conflicts, job design and work roles. (Laurus 773) It is known that stresses have negative results as they are the reasons of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, stomach ulcers and heart attacks. Stress results also in depressions and anxieties as well as sleeplessness may worsen cognitive functioning. In the result a person may lose concentration and confidence in decision-making. There are many ways to manage stress such as, for example, altering stressors themselves, altering moderators of the stressors, lessening individual’s responses and alleviating the stress consequences. Organization can manage stress by providing support services, conflict resolution and cognitive therapy. (Kahn et al. 99)


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Hyde, A.C. (2002) Understanding Innovation in Management. The Public Manager, 31, 3, 64.

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Kahn, R.L., Wolfe, R.P., Quinn, R.P., Snoek, J.D., & Rosenthal, R.A. (1964). Organizational Stress: Studies in Role Conflict and Ambiguity. New York: Wiley, 98-102.

Lazarus, R.S., DeLongis, A., Folkman, S., & Gruen, R. (1985). Stress and Adaptational Outcomes: The Problems of Confounded Measures.  American Psychologist, 40, 770-779.

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Rosenberg, Deanne. (1993, January) Eliminating Resistance to Change. Security Management, 37, 1, 20-23.

Yerkes, R.M. & Dodson, J.D. (1988). The Relation of Strength of Stimulus to Rapidity of Habit-Formation. Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology, 18, 459-482.

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Managing Resistance to Change in Organizations. (2017, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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