Resistance takes many forms, and can be the cause for the failure of a potentially good change program. Understanding resistance involves the ability to identify it, and then take action to diminish its effect. The reason for resistance to a change can vary from one person to another and from one situation to the next. This exercise is to help equip students with some options for dealing with resistance.

The Task

Listed below are a number of reasons why people may be resistant to a change. For each of the fourteen reasons, identify two actions that could be taken by management to reduce the prospect that it will be a significant source of resistance.

Reason for Resistance                                                        Proposed Action

  1. Innate dislike of change
  2. Low tolerance of uncertainty
  3. Perceived negative effects on interests
  4. Attachment to organization culture/identity
  5. Perceived breach of psychological contract
  6. Lack of conviction that change is needed
  7. Lack of clarity as to what is expected
  8. Belief that the proposed changes are inappropriate
  9. Perception that the timing is wrong
  10. Too much change
  11. Cumulative effect of other life changes
  12. Perceived ethical conflict
  13. Legacy of past changes
  14. Disagreement with how the change is being managed

Guidelines for Answers to Questions

The answers to the questions in the exercises should draw from the range of strategies discussed in the section “Managing Resistance” (pp.263-269) in the textbook.

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