Resistance To Organizational Change In Business

2685 words - 11 pages

By any objective measure, the amount of important, frequently distressing, change in organizations has grown enormously over the last two decades (Kotter, 1996). Jeffrey M. Hiatt, CEO of Prosci Inc., (as cited by Gibson, Ivancevich, Donnelly & Konopaske, 2009, p. 481) explained, “thirty years ago, a fortune 100 probably had one or two enterprise wide change initiatives going on; today that number is probably between 20 and 25.” The speed of global, economic, and technological development makes change an inevitable element of organizational life. Change is a pervasive, persistent, and permanent condition for all organizations (Gibson, et al., 2009).

Organizational change means different things, and strategic renewal comes in different forms. Organizational change includes such concepts as first-order; incremental, continuous change and second-order, transformational/revolutionary, discontinuous change:

• First-order, incremental change, which may include modifications in systems, processes, or structures; however, it does not involve basic change in strategy, core values, or corporate identity. First-order changes preserve and develop the organization: they are changes created, almost contradictory, to sustain organizational continuity and order.

• Second-order, discontinuous change is transformational, extreme, and substantially alters the organization at its core. Second-order change does not involve developing change, rather it entails transforming the makeup of the organization (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). In addition, Nadler and Tushman (as cited in Palmer, et. al, 2011) develop this distinction involving incremental and discontinuous change, explaining that change is either reactive or proactive to the changes in the external environment.

If organizations are to thrive and be sustaining, they need to respond to the dynamics of their environment with change. However, change is not a singular event with an isolated focus (Spector, 2007). Effective strategic renewal is a combination of “the three faces of change”—turnaround, which targets costs; technology, which targets internal process; and behavioral, which targets employee actions and interactions (Spector, 2007). In a discussion on change management, particularly management-by-control versus management-by-shaping, Palmer, et al. (2009) draw a similar conclusion that “organizations and human systems are complex and evolving and therefore cannot be reduced to a single, linear objective of maximizing shareholder value” (p. 50).

Forces for Change
Despite some variations in change approach labels among academic research, it seems generally accepted that forces for change are the catalyst for change itself. Gibson, et al. (2009) classified forces for change into two groups; environmental and internal, and further described environmental forces as those generally beyond management’s control and internal forces...

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