Resistance to change in an organisation or in a society is considered as an act that defines opposing the status quo. According to Doppelt (2017), the resistance to changes is one of the major problems that businesspersons face in the modern world. These resistances to change may be of varied forms such as increased number of employees quitting the organisation, slowing down of work, going for strikes and requesting transfer order to other departments. Therefore, a number of reasons can be stated that may cause resistance to change in an organisation (Cameron and Green 2015). These include:
Reluctance to lose control: Most people resist accepting changes in an organisation as they feel that they may lose control over the job that they have. The authority and the skilfulness of the employees can be compromised if changes are made in an organisation According to Hayes (2014), moreover, the employees may feel a loss of control due to the change being imposed. The focus of the change is primarily at the loss of control of the employees.
Lack of psychology resilience: The changes in the organisations can be a huge stress factor for the employees. This is mainly because of the fact that the changes may get the employees to change their method of work therefore, the employees that are less resilience may have fewer capabilities to cope up with the changes.
Reluctance to leave out old habits: According to Kuipers et al. (2014), most employees in an organisation view changes as a method of leaving old habits. These people prefer to work in an environment that helps it to maintain and continue with the familiar work that is done by them. The thought of relinquishing the old habits cause employees to resist changes and therefore, have a significant negative impact on the organisation.
Therefore, these can be considered as core reasons for the resistance to changes in an organisation. This can be analysed further by considering the resistance to change model proposed by Kurt Lewin.
Kurt Lewin’s Model and Resistance to Change
According to Lewis, Passmore and Cantore (2016), Kurt Lewin’s change management model proposes the idea of the managing changes and its resistance in three steps. The three steps include unfreezing, changing and refreezing. These three stages in the change management model help in creating a perception that change is required in an organisation. It has been observed that three ways can be used that can help in identifying resistance to changes. These include mechanistic, social and conversational. These three ways help in identifying the natural, exceptional and socially constructed meaning of change in an organisation. As reported by Goetsch and Davis (2014) about 65% of the initiatives of changes fail to achieve the desired outcome. At the same time, 57% of the organisations witness a major decline in the productivity during change management. Therefore, conflict may arise between the various members of the organisations regarding accepting and rejecting the changes.
In this case, it can be said that the psychological contracts of the employees may be considered as a factor for resisting changes in an organisation. The psychological contracts can be both transactional and relational. These take into consideration the narrow as well as a long-term relationship with a primary focus on the economic condition of an organisation. Lewin’s model takes into consideration the psychological contracts of the employees thereby implementing the changes keeping in mind the work and pay related issues. It has been seen that the three-step model helps in defining the needs for change management and at the same time address the idea of resisting change in the organisation (Lozano, Ceulemans and Seatter 2015). The three-step model is systematic in to identifying changes and managing it in a manner so that employees embrace the changes in the organisation. Therefore, it can be said that the application of Lewin’s change model considers the consequences that may occur in an organisation while accepting a new opportunity for the development of a business.
The Trigger Events and Challenges of Change
According to Cummings, Bridgman and Brown (2016), trigger events are considered as either mergers or acquisitions in which one firm joins the other for survival and growth in the industry. In the case of mergers, the size of the organisations remains same and therefore, it helps in the growth of both the organisations. In the case of acquisitions, a superior company takes over a small company with the aim of further expansion in the market. As observed by Van der Voet (2014) both the situations require changes to be triggered in an organisation. Apart from these methods, other trigger events include relocation of the organisation and most importantly a change in the top management model. These factors have a psychological effect on an employee as the workflow is disrupted and the employees may require time to understand the situations that continue in the market.
These trigger events also develop an emotion among the people that affect the reactions to change of the people. Therefore, changes need to unfold in a systematic manner taking into consideration the events that occur in an organisation. The announcement and occurrence of the events along with the future of the events after it has occurred change the mindset of the people. Therefore, the mindset of the work at change events can be described in the form of analysing the changes in a systematic manner. As stated by Hossan (2015) during the pre-event rumours are spread about the changes that may take place and a cognitive understanding of the events are done by the employees.
Gradually, as the event gets confirmed, people try to analyse the history of the organisations and adopt a conventional explanation to formulate possibilities of the unfolding of the event. According to Worley and Mohrman (2014) during the occurrence of the events, the employees remain concerned with the loss of familiarity with work. This may be a triggering factor as the resistance to changes are heightened by the symbolic impact of the occurrence and the past results of the events. In the end, a long-term view of the events is conducted that analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the events and the manner in which it has managed to evaluate the overall condition of the organisations. One of the notable things during the occurrence of the trigger events is the role of the managers.
The Role of Managers during the Trigger Events
The role of managers during the trigger events define the manner in which the change can be implemented and the success of the resistance of the employees. The trigger events can be managed in a systematic manner by considering every step of the event. As stated by Bartunek and Woodman (2015) the role of the managers can be analysed at every stage of the events. These can be analysed in a systematic manner:
Rumours: During this stage, it is necessary that the managers be aggressive and responds to the rumours in a stern manner. It is necessary to provide positive information so that the employees do not get complacent about the events in the organisation. Therefore, it is necessary that these rumours are suppressed and the employees are provided with a puzzle box picture.
Comparison: During this stage, the managers need to make comparisons about the events that had taken place in the past and about the events that are going to take place. The comparison needs to be done based on the effects that it had in the organisation. Cummings and Worley (2014) are of the opinion that the new people in the organisations need to be introduced to the existing employees and the process followed for maintaining a proper environment.
Symbols: This is an important stage, as the symbols need to be orchestrated properly. It needs to communicate with the vision and goals of an organisation and the manner in which the strategies can be implemented to create positive results. The actions need to be converted into symbolic communication and changes need to be made from the beginning. Therefore, new work rules can be formulated based on the changes that take place in the organisation.
Learning: Wojciechowski et al. (2016) are of the opinion that at this stage the management need to make a valid conclusion about the consequences of the changes. The meaning of the event needs to be clearly explained so that the errors can be reduced in the future. The overall management of the events needs to be undertaken so that new strategies can be developed for the future.
Case Study: Donna Dubinsky and Apple Inc
The case issue in the case of Donna Dubinsky and Apple Inc is that Donna had resisted the changes that the then CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs had proposed to implement. This was mainly done because the suggested change was due to the entire change in the distribution strategy of the organisation. The reason for the resistance to the change was the fact that it was thought to be a major mistake made by the company. Donna opposed the changes and threatened to quit but instead, Steve Jobs ensured that she was promoted to providing value to the company.
The reason for the success of Donna in Apple was that in 1985, the corporate culture of Apple was failing. Steve Jobs had been in conflict with Scully over the introduction of McIntosh. Despite being in a junior position at the time, Donna challenged the decisions of the top-level managers and ensured that the success of Apple that resulted from the distribution channels is not compromised. Therefore, the lack of proper cultural success and the condition of Apple promoted Donny to be successful. Thus, this can also be considered as the main reason for responding to the JIT proposal set out by Jobs. However, Burke (2017) is of the opinion that Donna could have had a simple thought about designing a proper method to fulfil the needs of the organisations. She could have taken Steve Jobs into confidence and proposed her theory. However, it may not have propelled her position in the organisation.
The analysis states that change in an organisation is necessary so that it can propel the status of an organisation. Therefore, it is necessary that every organisation manage changes by analysing the factors that propel the changes to take place. It has been seen that the application of Lewin’s three-step model is considered as an appropriate model for analysing the resistance to changes. However, Kempster, Higgs and Wuerz (2014) are of the opinion that the application of Kotter’s eight-step can be useful for implementing changes in an organisation and analysing the resistant factors to changes. This is mainly because of the fact that this particular model can help an organisation to maintain its vision and consolidate the gains that can be obtained to generate changes. At the same time, Hayes (2014) stated that the focus for resistance to changes needs to be on the drivers rather than that of the mentality of the employees. This is mainly because the drivers that define job satisfaction and motivation among employees provide a proper analysis of the satisfaction of the employees.
It needs to be understood that changes do not always bring about a negative consequence in the organisations. The case studies related to the failure of a business is mainly related to the mismanagement of changes in an organisation. According to Cameron and Green (2015), the role of the managers in the change management cannot be entirely on focusing on the triggers to changes. At the same time, it is also necessary that the trigger events be prevented from occurring. However, drastic measures need to be taken by organisations for improvement and to remain competitive in the market. Thereby, it is necessary that proper analysis of the events take place and its root cause. Lewis, Passmore and Cantore (2016) are of the opinion that such changes can help an organisation to maintain its business and continue its dominance.
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