Organizational change and stress management are widely accepted as two major issues in organizational life today (Vakola & Nikolaou, 2005). If there is one constant in the business world, it is change (Washington & Hacker, 2005). But with change, stress will normally follow. Change is defined as making things different while stress is defined as a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, a demand, or a resource related to what the individual desires and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important. This paper will focus on the results of research from experts who have analyzed the influence that resistance to change, potential sources of stress, and the consequences of change and stress have on organizations. As part of the results of each study, the authors’ conclude that there is an apparent need for additional research to be performed and the provided recommended approaches suggested in managing change and stress may not address all issues. The first of these topics explored will focus on individual resistance to change in organizations.
Individual Resistance to Change in Organizations
Individuals go through a reaction process when they are personally confronted with major organizational change (Kyle, 1993; Jacobs, 1995; Bovey & Hede, 2001). Within this process there are four phases that it consists of: initial denial, resistance, gradual exploration, and eventual commitment (Scott & Jaffe, 1988; Bovey & Hede, 2001). Resistance to change is the initial area to focus on. The issues of organizational change and resistance to change have received a lot of attention over the past decade (Macri, Tagliaventi & Bertolotti, 2002). The perceptions of individuals play a fundamental role in the process of change and thus, in the creation of resistance (Macri, Tagliaventi & Bertolotti, 2002). To understand how these perceptions are important in an organization, resistance and change must be explained.
Resistance is a natural part of the change process and is to be expected to occur because change involves going from the known to the unknown (Coghlan, 1993; Steinburg, 1992; Bovey & Hede, 2001). Good Individuals differ in terms of their ability and willingness to adapt to organizational change because most experience change in different ways and some tend to move through the change process rather quickly, while others may become stuck or experience multiple transitions (Scott & Jaffe, 1988, Darling, 1993; Bovey & Hede, 2001). Some people actually thrive on change. In an organization, it is not the change that affects the organization that most should be concerned, but the resistance to that change by the individuals. Resistance to change can be overt, implicit, immediate, or deferred and can be a source of functional conflict if not dealt with. It is important that an organization manages employee resistance immediately to ensure the change process is effective (Bovey & Hede, 2001). Good...