Resistance to Organisational Change

In: Business and Management

Submitted By agadza
Words 3670
Pages 15


Resistance is a common reason for the failure of change initiatives. The subject is thus of extreme importance to management. This paper explores the contention by King and Anderson that a common theme in defining resistance is “a naïve and managerialist assumption that resistance is counter-productive – even irrational – behaviour which needs to be overcome” with an emphasis on organisational change. It begins by looking at organisational change and its managerialist perspective and then examines resistance in an organisational setting. It ends with suggestions on how resistance to change should be managed by organisations.

What is organisational change?

Organisational change can be described as the transformation of an organisation from a current state to another, desired state. In all definitions of change there is the emphasis on the alteration from one state to another (Goodman and Kurke 1982). This process can be either structured or unstructured and can be either incremental (an improvement on an existing state) or transformational (a total transformation to another state). Organisations themselves have been defined as “social arrangements for the controlled performance of collective goals” (Huczynski and Buchanan 1991) and Rogers (1962) defines change as an alteration in the structure and function of a social system. While no consensus exists as to why organisations change (Hughes 2010), it is generally accepted that change is an inescapable part of organisational existence and the ability of an organisation to change progressively in response to its environment is essential for its survival. This explains the managerial interest in managing this process.

What is involved in change management?

Change management can be defined as “attending to organisational change transition processes at…...

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