Why do people resist change?
- Misunderstanding and lack of trust.
When individuals do not fully understand why change is happening and what its implications are if they resist it. Misunderstanding is more likely to occur when trust is lacking between the individuals and the person initiating the change.
- Low tolerance of change.
People fear change because they feel that they are unable to develop the skills necessary to perform well e.g. When people resist introduction of new technology it is because they fear that they will not be able to cope with the new technology.
- Different assessment of change.
Individuals view change and its consequences differently and for this reason they assess it differently. Those initiating change see more positive results while those being affected the change see more cost involved in the change therefore they resist it.
- Selfish interests/Fear of loss of something valued
People resist change because they fear losing something they value. Individuals may fear lose of power, resources, prestige etc. Such individuals only have their own selfish interests at heart and not the interests of the organization.
- Fear of the unknown.
Resisting change is a human response and management needs to take steps to minimize such resistance. Minimizing resistance can reduce time it takes for change to be accepted. Performance of employees can also rebound more quickly if resistance is kept at minimum.
Strategies for minimizing resistance to change
Managers have access to five different strategies that can reduce if not eliminate resistance to change. They include;
1.Education and communicating.
Educating and communicating to people about the change before it is introduced helps them to prepare for it.
- Participation and involvement.
Involving those to be affected change in the design and implementation of change increases their commitment to change. This makes individuals feel that their ideas are being included in the change effort and this reduces resistance.
- Facilitation and support
Being supportive is important when implementing change. Managers can support those being affected change putting on place measures to facilitate change more easily especially when fear and anxiety are high among employees.
- Negotiation and agreement
Managers should identify points of negotiation and agreement which may involve giving something to the affected part to reduce resistance e.g. Getting a person to move to a less desirable work location may require paying him a bonus or salary increment.
- Manipulation and co-optation
Manipulation involves use of devious tactics to convince others that change is in their best interest. Such techniques may include playing some employees against others, providing slanted or scanty information.
Co-optation involves giving those affected the change a major role in the design and implementation of the change process.
The ethical issues associated manipulation is obvious and should be avoided whenever necessary.