Why People Resist Change: Nobody Likes It

Although change is now commonplace in business due to the many variables in our global society, a large proportion of efforts by management to implement organizational change fail.

This failure to accept change is often blamed on middle managers and employees by those in more senior positions, and while this is sometimes true, most often Senior Management over-estimates the degree of change that can be introduced to their organization. It soon becomes clear in these situations that the implementation of change requires people skills and leadership.

There are many reasons for people to resist change. This resistance is hardly ever rational. Managers should, however know that their employees are resisting change for reasons that, from their perspective, make perfect sense.

The most common reasons for people to resist change are:

  1. Pressure from colleagues. Some employees may be resistant to change under the notion that they are helping their co-workers and protecting their environment.

  2. Office politics. There may be some who will resist any change simply to ensure that the people making the decision are wrong.

  3. Suspicion of motive. Unless feelings of mistrust are dissipated, any change within an organization cannot occur in a meaningful way.

  4. Lack of consideration. The manner in which change is implemented can often be the cause of resistance to change.

  5. Damaged sense of security. The idea that job security or current standing may be reduced or eliminated by a change in technology or administration may play a part in the rejection of new ideas. Forced change that is harmful to any employee’s situation will not be effective for very long.

  6. Lack of communication. If an organization is surprised by change they may become fearful of the effect it will have on them.

  7. Lack of reward. Managers should restructure existing reward systems to include the proposed changes.

  8. Performance anxiety. Extensive change can cause apprehension among employees who are unsure of their ability to adapt and may not want to work outside their comfort zone.

For change to be meaningful for an organization, the administration should have a clearly and carefully designed plan to eliminate any of these obstacles. Do you need a strategy to implement a change?


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