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Understanding Individual Resistance In Organizational Change

3041 words - 13 pages

Due to economic environment that is increasingly volatile, change is necessary and inevitable within any organisation with resistance to change as a key concept (Hayes 2010). It’s been suggested that one of the main reasons organisation face resistance is due to “Parochial self- interest”, whereby some individuals are more concerned with their individual vested interest and how it will be compromised when the change takes place (Agocs 1997). It’s been suggest that the most important aspect of an organisational change is to understand an individual resistance “groups don’t change, teams don’t change, and companies don’t change: people change” (Kotze 2006), hence individual behaviour within ...view middle of the document...

Kotter and Cohen (2002) suggest that organisations should to take into account the complex task of organisational change mainly understanding the behaviour of the individual. Also Agocs (1997) suggested that change need to be understood and managed in a way that people can cope effectively with it. One ways individual may resist organisational change, is when an Individual within a group selects information which reinforces their subjective belief, values and the status quo or the change represents uncertainty, they fear the unknown or they are concerned about their own personal failure (Kotze 2006).
Hultman (1995 cited in Kotze 2006) argued that resistance consists of two dimensions, active and passive. Passive resistance is displayed by behaviours such as public support, but failure to implement the change, delaying, and withholding information or support. Active resistance includes behaviours such as being critical, selective use of facts, sabotaging, and starting rumours. Personal factors are potential source of resistance to change, habits play a crucial role in determines whether the individual increases their resistant, in particular if they are deeply held habits serves their self-interest (Dennis and Garman 2010). Also, individual resistant can be stated through false census, whereby an individual expresses their self-interest visibly. Therefore, what is needed is to question the basic underlying assumption that could be play a role in a supporting the individual and group resistance (Kotze 2006).
Also related to personal factors as sources of resistance to change, it is readily acknowledged that individuals have a multitude of needs. According to Maslow (1987) hierarchy of needs, there are five different types of need that motivate an individual. Firstly the need to satisfy personal need such as food, clothing and. The second level in hierarchy, safety needs, reflect an individual's "... need to operate in an environment that is physically and psychologically safe and secure, one free from threats of harm" (Mullins 2005). Thus, it could be argued that anything in an individual's environment which poses a threat to their security could be potential source of resistance. In line with this assertion, striving for security is among the reasons for resistance to change. This resistance could be prompted by personal concerns related to the fear of losing a job or a reduction in benefits (Ford 2002).
In addition to personal factors, there are also other factors in an organizational that could suggest resistance to change. Organisational factors leading to resistance could include the perceived credibility of the organisation, the perceived credibility of those leading the change, and also the organisation's history or track record related to change (Mink 1992). Over time; organizations undertake a number of changes. In turn, individuals develop a sense of an organization's history as it relates to change. If organizations have...

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