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The Reasons for the Resistance to Open-Office Plan

Describe about the Organizational Behaviour for Management Plans for New Policies.

The changes in an institution occur when the management plans to implement new policies and regulations that are essential for the development of a firm. As such, the prospected transition process must include the in-put of the employees as a technic to prevent conflict and non-absorption of the new plans. However, abstract and non-inclusive transition results in resistance from the member of the organization, a factor that the leads to poor performances from the affected personnel. Therefore, the paper discusses the effects of the open plan model that was introduced in Cheetham and Wynne law firm after the recruitment of new employees.

1a: The Reasons for the Resistance to Open-Office Plan

Significantly, Nark Cheetham and Cathy Wynne failed to appropriately address the intended changes to the employees. The case study highlights that the two employees persuaded the parents to accept the proposal with minimal contribution from other personnel. As such, inability to provide feedback regarding the impacts of this new policy on the performance of other workers and welfare resulted in the resistance. Notably, the provision of information regarding any transition is critical given that the affected individuals are provided opportunity to offer thoughts and make the necessary changes on its operation. The one-month window period without involving all the stakeholders on the modalities of the new work protocol was insufficient to achieve a positive result (Burnes 2015, p.100).

Further, other members of the firm interpreted that particular members of the firm were accorded special treatment as opposed to any given organizational cultural understanding. Observably, the senior managers unwillingly accepted the proposal provided by the siblings, however, the two individuals were provided with offices for personal use. This model created a form of discrimination that is supported by Jack when the manager claimed that there has never been any equality between the senior administrators and the new employees. The opposition and resistance of the employees is indicated by the circulation of a memo that Jack claims that was fake and showed fat pigs which symbolized their presence (Cameron and Green 2015).  

Similarly, the senior management highlighted the loss of status within the organization, a factor that is supported by the irregular reporting to duty in normal hours. Further, the development of the online system, ‘play pen’ resulted in laziness among the employees through chatting besides the malfunctioning of the process hence the inability to access the required services. Equally, the lack of privacy is another vital aspect that increased resistance to the open plan method.  A significant number of employees asserted that the system disrupted the ability to communicate with boyfriends and clients without other individuals listening to the details.

Suggested Actions for the Partners to Minimize Resistance

The resistance from Mai Ling also illustrates the inconveniences that the change brought among the employees. The open plan impacts are also observed in the increased expense that the employee accrues through travelling to shops and searching of private places to accomplish various needs. The possibility in the rise of conflicts among the employees is also another reason for the resistance to the imposed changes. Specifically, Talanoa argues that disagreement occurred with other members of the firm due to access of Facebook. These differences promote underperformance and disintegration of organizational culture hence loss in profits.

The fear of members spying on each other also contributes to the resistance against smooth implementation of the open plan system in the organization. The risk to the publication of clients’ private issues through calls and access to personal documents supports the opposition of new system. Equally, other staffs argues that the allocated places are unconducive given that one is unable to view the outside environment while Catherine, the designer, was settled in a position with better views and comfortability.

The staffs also prospect the bossiness among the daughters of the firm’s owners in that Catherine implemented decisions without following proper channel. This rise of fellow employees due to nepotism and other forms of social stratification contributes to higher resistance to changes and poor performances of any organization. Therefore, the self-centred attributes portrayed by the siblings fails to urger well with the employees the feel underpaid and non-completion of agreed contracts.

Besides, the changes in design of the work building coupled with other forms of decorations fails to concur with the spirit of members of the organization such as Owen. Additionally, the plan contributed to strangeness within oneself such that other staffs such as the Maori lawyers fail to recognize a joke. The loss of morale, motivation, and appropriate communication channel among the staff also supports the resistance to change among the lawyers and the paralegal officers.

The competitiveness of business in the current global dispensation require organization to initiate and implement changes frequently to remain relevant in the market. However, transitional area require critical analyse the help the institution to remain competitive and offer services that improves the clients’ satisfaction. Analytically, the changes that were flagged by Catherine illustrate poor research and non-strategic system that brings no direct benefit to the organization.

Further, approximately 50% of the organization resists such a change thus the need to redraft the priority of the firm that correspond to the needs and performance of the agency. Therefore, the proposal of the prospected changes must be evaluated on the ground of its impacts to the organizational and individual’s performance. Given the failure by Catherine implement the changes in a systematic approach, the employees’ resistance are envisaged through poor morale and communication.

Barriers to Communication That Exist In the New Law Firm

B: Suggested Actions for the Partners to Minimize Resistance

Importantly, to reduce the intense resistance of change among the employees the senior management would have initiated the approach without giving the siblings a direct authority to manage the company processes. This system creates a belief among the personnel that the business owners are in control and responsible for the directions the firm takes. Additionally, the proposers of the changes should seek the workers opinion regarding the open plan system before executing the suggested policies. As such, the organization gets to implement regulations that are accepted by all the members of the institution. Biases should also be avoided thus the promotion of equality among the members. Specifically, the senior management should avoid feeling special and treat all the personnel as equals to avoid emergence of conflicts and miscommunication within the system (Appelbaum et al., 2015, p.148).

The partners should communicate the needed changes in proper time to allow the employees to discuss and evaluate the prospect of the system. Additionally, this technic enables the management to obtain detailed feedback besides the adoption and the reorganization of the staff’s schedule to start accepting the transitions. The recognition to the existence of opposition is also an effective means of minimizing change in a firm. The concept allows the coming together of people in which individuals are given opportunity to air the view towards the development of the syndicate. Consequently, trust, understanding, and cooperation are built thus leading to the formation of a common goal of applying the changes that are acceptable to all employees (Vangelova & Stanchev 2014, np.).

2a: Barriers to Communication That Exist In the New Law Firm

Observably, cultural differences are a barrier to communication in the new law firm due to the existence of the Chinese and Indians. Notably, the organization accommodates more than one belief, a factor that indicates the occurrences of poor interaction system. This notion is supported by the expression of Owen in which the manager asserts that nobody recognised the joke about the Jewish lawyers. Suggestively, this occurrence makes the senior administrator to believe that the institution looked strange due to the cold reception of the aired interaction (Sherani 2016).

The lack of direct communication with the personnel from the senior managers concerning the introduction of the new open system also indicates the breakdown of association in the firm. This case shows a lack of unity and ownership of the intended changes to the firm. Owen further claimed that a significant amount of changes had occurred in the firm since the time the children started to manage the business. This assertion depicts disconnect between the managers and the employees and improper flow of information given that the individual was also reporting talks of the secretaries (Sutter & Kieser 2015, np.).

Other employees also indicated the lack of motivation and support due to the negative comments provided during the appraisals. Similarly, as illustrated by John’s case, some communication agreements are conducted in a bar when the parties are drunk thus the failure to fulfil the agreed deals. Considerably, the management fail to provide the employees with appropriate feedback regarding the signed contracts. This irresponsible nature of the administration demonstrates the lack of sensitivity and poor communication system from the management (De Jager 2001, p.24).  

B: How to Overcome the Existing Barriers

There are different ways within which the organization can overcome existing barriers in communication. One of the most important ways of overcoming the barrier is through actively listening to the different thoughts and opinions presented by other colleagues. Through active listening, the staff members and the firm founders can listen and appreciate the message passed on (Decker 2016).

Additionally, the employees and the employers should always take into consideration of the facial expressions and body languages which are used by different people during communication. They should try to conceal their emotions to avoid misinterpretation of the messages which are being conveyed. For instance, passing a message in a sarcastic manner may make the receiver negatively interpret it (Andersson 2016, p.230).

Also, the organization should ensure that the employees are not overloaded with information. The firm founders and other leaders should ensure that they prioritize their requirements to avoid overloading. The four partners should ensure that they spend adequate time with the employees, rather than spending all their time playing golf and drinking. Therefore, the partners should closely collaborate with their employees and listen to their problems. Finally, the partners should encourage feedback channels to ensure that effective communications (Rudawska 2013, 157).

There are two main sources of power being exercised by the firm’s four partners. The sources of power include expert power and legitimate power. The four founders derive their power from the expertise and knowledge in law, since they are qualified law graduates from the same law institution. However, the main source of power which is evident in this organization is positional or legitimate power (Haji-Kazemi et al., 2015, p.1070). This kind of power is derived from the hierarchical position held by the four partners within the organization. The two main founders oversee the running and operations of the organization, and can also make crucial decisions like upgrading the working space, and hiring of workers. Due to these reasons, they are indispensable and report to no one. As mentioned in the vignette, the two main founders have minimised their appearances within the firm, and mostly spend time playing golf or drinking at a local club. Since the founders hold the senior most position in their law firm, their opinions and ideas are highly regarded by the employees, and greatly influences the manner in which the employees relate to them (Armstrong & Armstrong 2009, np.)

Impacts of these Powers on Other Employees

Since the founders are law experts having graduated from law school, the employees respect their ideas and opinions. However, since the partners enjoy the positional power they hold in their law firm, they are not answerable to anyone and can come to work at their own will, or even spend significant amounts of cash in different forms of entertainment such as playing golf. Due to the source of power exercised by the partners, the employees feel sidelined since they expect the partners to occasionally chip in and contribute in accomplishing different small tasks. Secondly, the employees may find it difficult to follow rules and guidelines since they may begin seeing the leaders as unkind and sardonic (Samaratunge 2015).

B: Tricks That Have Been Used By the Partners and Other Employees

The main trick which has been employed by the four founders is changing the office system to an open-office. Due to this the founders can learn the attitudes and motivations of different employees while at the same time monitoring their behaviours. Since the employees are placed under one large roof, they are prompted to work harder since their managers can easily spot them. Additionally, the founders have established a performance review strategy which they use categorise their employees to emotionally encourage the colleagues to work harder. Finally, the two main founders listen in to their employees’ conversations and later on discuss them and note their concerns. On the other hand, the employees jokingly discuss the behaviours of the two older founders to ensure that they create a friendly mood and environment which exempts them from disciplinary actions (Ward and Peppard 2016).

Effectiveness of These Behaviours

These behaviours are effective in ensuring that the employees are constantly supervised and heard. Additionally, since there are graded after every performance review, the employees are forced to work harder and harder to earn certain privileges including salary increment, coverage of school fees by the firm. Additionally, the employees are able to closely interact with their supervisors and be motivated by their attitudes (Baynes et al., 2016, p.170).


There are very many reasons which may contribute to lack of cohesion and understanding within an organization. In case of such misunderstandings, the founders and supervisors should ensure that certain measures are implemented for the organization to properly work towards achievement of its goals and objectives. Appropriate listening skills and feedback channels are very important tools which ensure that employees are well integrated within the organization to enable them work even more competitively. Finally, the founders should ensure that their source of power used to govern the organization is healthy and gives the employees a good perception of them (Sirén et al., 2016).

Andersson, A., 2016. Communication barriers in an interorganizational ERP-project. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 9(1), pp.214-233.

Appelbaum, S.H., Degbe, M.C., MacDonald, O. and Nguyen-Quang, T.S., 2015. Organizational outcomes of leadership style and resistance to change (Part Two). Industrial and Commercial Training, 47(3), pp.135-144.

Armstrong, M. and Armstrong, M. (2009). Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. London: Kogan Page.

Baynes, J., Herbohn, J. and Dressler, W., 2016. Power relationships: Their effect on the governance of community forestry in the Philippines. Land Use Policy, 54, pp.169-176.

Burnes, B., 2015. Understanding Resistance to Change–Building on Coch and French. Journal of Change Management, 15(2), pp.92-116.

Cameron, E. and Green, M., 2015. Making sense of change management: a complete guide to the models, tools and techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers.

De Jager, P., 2001. Resistance to change: A new view of an old problem.The futurist, 35(3), p.24.

Decker, J. T., Constantine Brown, J. L., & Tapia, J. (2016). Learning to work with trauma survivors: lessons from Tbilisi, Georgia. Social work in public health, 1-12.

Haji-Kazemi, S., Andersen, B. and Klakegg, O.J., 2015. Barriers against effective responses to early warning signs in projects. International Journal of Project Management, 33(5), pp.1068-1083.

Rudawska, A. (2013). Knowledge Sharing in Organizations – Its Nature, Barriers and Effects. Organization and Management, 2013(4 (157).

Samaratunge, R., 2015. Change Process Characteristics and Resistance to Organisational Change: The Role of Employee Perceptions of Justice.Australian Journal of Management, 40(1).

Sherani, K., Shah, A., Karki, A., Cervellione, K., Rosen, H. and Patel, M., 2016. Rounding and Communication Bundle in Medical Intensive Care Unit: A Quality Improvement Initiative: Identification of Barriers. CHEST Journal,149(4_S), pp.A238-A238.

Sirén, C., Patel, P.C. and Wincent, J., 2016. How do harmonious passion and obsessive passion moderate the influence of a CEO's change-oriented leadership on company performance?. The Leadership Quarterly.

Sutter, M. and Kieser, A. (2015). How Consultants and Their Clients Collaborate in Spite of Massive Communication Barriers. International Journal of Business Communication.

Vangelova, K. and Stanchev, V. (2014). Stress, Visual and Musculoskeletal Complaints in Open Plan Office Staff. Acta Medica Bulgarica, 41(1).

Ward, J. and Peppard, J., 2016. The Strategic Management of Information Systems: Building a Digital Strategy. John Wiley & Sons.

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