Common Motives For Resistance

- secondary gain resistance ‐ reluctant to change, ie like the care and attention that management gives you, but do not want to change.

- defence mechanism ‐ people initiate an assortment of reactions (usually emotive) to defend themselves from painful realisation and to maintain current status, eg involving shifts in power and authority or significant personal development. They require behavioural changes to handle the new situation.

- new changes may reflect poorly on past performance, ie require an admission of past incompetencies and "loss of face".

Some reasons why resistance occurs

cognitive bias, ie we prefer to proceed along the familiar, known path rather than new, unknown directions, activities, etc.

- threats, ie our brains are most concerned about threats. Something new and/or different is seen as a threat.

critical analysis, ie an education system that encourages and rewards a focus on identifying what can go wrong, eg using techniques like risk analysis, etc.

- displacement, ie it assumes that when people think of doing something they feel strongly about, they are hard to stop. In other words, blocking one option is not going to make much of a difference. This can apply to the serial resistors to change, ie they will continue to hunt for ways to stop the change. On the other hand, change champions need to be flexible enough to find alternatives if blocking occurs, ie need to be very opportunistic

- clarifying falsehood, sometimes exposing falsehoods can 'backfire'. Some examples

    i) Iraqi's weapons of mass destruction (the evidence that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction made some people more likely to believe that they did)

    ii) conservatives and tax cuts (the evidence that tax cuts don't increase government revenues made some conservatives believe it more fervently)

    iii) negative reports on a popular politician (this can make him/her even more popular)
(source: David Redlawsk as quoted by Johan Berger, 2021)


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