Change Implementation Techniques for Laying a Foundation for New Ways

Technique 1.65 Resistance (Responses to Change)

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. "Resistant to change" is a generalisation made about anyone who does not change as quickly as we desire.

. It is important to realize that resistance is normal and something most of us do to protect our integrity. It is a potential source of energy, as well as information, about the change effort and direction. In general, going with the resistance ‐ not condemning it but trying to understand its source and motives ‐ can open up possibilities for realizing how to influence change. Thus resistance can be considered a natural reaction ‐ a step in a process that ultimately leads to adoption of the change. It is a normal response for those who have a strong vested interest in maintaining the status quo and guarding themselves against loss. Sometimes the resistance is over‐simplified at the start of a change process. The expression "I won't" can be unpacked to "why should I?" In other words "why should I let go of something that has meaning to me? If I let go of it, what do I get in its place?"

. Generally, most people are not against change, but the way it is handled

"...People do not resist change; people resist being changed..."

Beckhard in Senge et al, 1999

. One of the most common mistakes made by managers when they encounter resistance is to become angry, frustrated, impatient or exasperated. The problem with an emotional reaction is that it increases the probability that the resistance will intensify.

Resistance to Change

. It can be broken done into 1 of 3 categories: logical, psychological and sociological. Tick the statement(s) that most resembles where your people are


(based on rational reasoning)


(based on emotions, sentiments and attitudes)


(based on group interest and values)

Time required to change or adjust

Fear of unknown

Organisational political coalition

Extra effort to adjust/relearn

Feared inability to cope with new change

Opposing group values/beliefs

Threat of less desirable conditions

Low tolerance to change

Vested interests

Downgrading of work position

Dislike of management or change agents

Parochial, narrow outlook

Economic cost of change

Lack of trust in others

Desire to retain existing friendships

Uncertainty as to likely success of change initiative

Desire for status quo

Questionable technical feasibility of change

Need for security

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