Tips to manage resistance to change

Although resistance to change is a common phenomenon in organizations, it must be noted that not all changes are resisted. In fact, if we look at any organization closely we would probably find that far more changes are accepted than resisted. The traditional view of resistance to change treated it as something to be overcome, and many organizational attempts to reduce the resistance have only served to intensify it.

he contemporary view holds that resistance is simply a form of feedback and that this feedback can be sued very productively to manage the change process. One key to managing resistance is to plan for it and to be ready with a variety of strategies for using the resistance as feedback and helping employees negotiate the transition. Some tactics have been suggested for sue in dealing with resistance to change.

  1. Education and Communication: Communication about impending change is essential if employees are to adjust effectively. The details of the change should be provided, but equally important is the rationale behind the change. Employees want to know why change is needed. If there is no good reason for it, why should they favour the change? Providing accurate and timely information about the change can help prevent unfounded fears and potentially damaging rumours from developing.
  2. It is also beneficial to inform people about the potential consequences of the change. Educating employees on new work procedures is often helpful.

  3. Participation: It is difficult for individuals to resist a change decision in which they participated. Prior to making a change, those opposed can be brought into the decision process. When employees are allowed to participate, they are more committed to the change.
  4. Empathy and Support: Another strategy for managing resistance is providing empathy and support to employees who have trouble dealing with the change.
  5. Active listening is an excellent tool for identifying the reasons behind resistance and for uncovering fears. An expression of concerns about the change can provide important feedback that managers can use to improve the change process.

  6. Negotiation: Another way to deal with potential resistance to change is to exchange something of value for a lessening of the resistance. Where some persons in a group clearly lose out in a change, and where groups have considerable power to resist, negotiation and agreements are helpful. It becomes relatively easy to avoid major resistance through negotiation. Negotiation as a tactic may be necessary when resistance comes from a powerful source.
  7. Manipulation and cooperation: Manipulation refers to covert influence attempts.
  8. Twisting and distorting facts to make them appear more attractive, with holding undesirable information and creating false rumours to get employees to accept a change are all examples of manipulation. It involves giving individuals a desirable role in design or implementation of change.

  9. Coercion: Coercion is the application of direct threats or force on the resisters.
  10. They essentially force people to accept a change by explicitly or implicitly threatening them with the loss of their jobs, promotion possibilities and transferring them. Coercion is mostly applied where speed is essential in implementing change and the change initiator possesses considerable power.


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Principles of Management and Organisational Behaviour Topics