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Managing Resistance to Change – Change | Organizational Behaviour

Managing Resistance to Change

In this world, there is nothing permanent except change. To make the change programs effective managers need to overcome resistance to change successfully. John Kotter and Len Schlesinger have developed six tactics that help in dealing with resistance to change. Each tactic is most appropriate in certain kinds of situations, and many of them can be applied simultaneously which are explained below:

Overcoming Resistance to Change

1. Education and communication:

Many people do not properly understand change and therefore, underscore the consequences and resist change. While educating the employees of the change and its consequences, communication plays an important role. Extensive communication will help reduce anxiety and ensure people understand the reasons for what is happening, what will be expected of them, and how they will be supported through the change. You should let people know beforehand what is happening and why. If people are informed and persuaded that the change is necessary and result in benefits, it will help with implementation.

2. Participation (involvement):

People resist change because managers fail to invite juniors while formulating change programs. This increases understanding, enhances feelings of control, reduces uncertainty, and promotes a feeling of ownership. In other words, a person who is involved in the process of change from the very beginning is more strongly committed to the change than someone who did not participate.

Change agents must realize this fact. Genuine participation of employees would guarantee commitment to the implementation of change. Participation helps to reduce misunderstanding, visualize potential benefits, sense of belongingness, and being demanded.

3. Facilitation and support:

Managers also need to provide employees with facilitation and support. This makes the change program more effective and less resisting. Examples of it are listening to employee problems providing emotional support, providing training in new skills, counseling, a short paid leave of absence, etc. In other words, it includes assistance offered by the organization (for example, appropriate guidance, tools and equipment, materials, training, etc.)to help make the changed work more easy and effective.

4. Negotiation (agreements):

With powerful resistors, you may have to offer incentives in return for agreement to changes. This is useful when people will clearly lose out because of the changes, but it also alerts people that they may be able to hold out for extra benefits if they continue resisting the change.

5. Manipulation and cooption:

Manipulation is another covert (unexposed) tactics to manage change. It involves conscious structuring of events and the very selective use of information. Cooption is one common form of manipulation that involves giving individuals a desirable role in the design or implementation of change. Managers generally use manipulation tactics specifically when all other tactics are not viable or have already failed in practice.

6. Coercion:

This tactic is applied when other tactics are ineffective and the company needs to change quickly. The people who resist change are asked either to accept the change or leave the organization. Common examples of coercion are threats of transfer, loss of promotion, negative performance evaluation, etc. It has both positive and negative consequences.

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2 thoughts on “Managing Resistance to Change – Change | Organizational Behaviour”

  1. Exceptional post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thanks!


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