Change is a normal factor for individual and society, which is also a necessary process. Some people prefer to change their status actively, while other people do not have this kind of willing to change anything because of personality. However, the aspect of resistance to change is not only personality, but also has the organizational factors. And some leadership skills can be used about resistance to change.
When it comes to individual factors within organisation, some people think that changing their status quo could bring them more challenges and new situations, while other people satisfied with the status quo so that they do not want to change current situations. There are some factors which people do not want to change.
• Selective perception
• Inconvenience or loss of freedom
• Economic implications
• Security in the past
• Fear of the unknown
Source: Mullins (2013:716-7)
Some psychological factors and work habits will influence the choice of employees in an organisation. Some employees have become accustomed to the current working mode and environment over a long period of time. Psychologically, they do not want to make themselves into unsafe conditions. Moreover, these changes might bring them a series of insecurity and fear of the unknown. Therefore, the managers can change some of the current situation, which let employees have a buffer space to adapt new environment, such as office rules and working environment.
On the other hand, there are some resistance from organisation.
• Organisational culture
• Maintaining stability
• Investment in resources
• Past contracts or agreements
• Threats to power or influence
Source: Mullins (2013:717-8)
Those factors of organisational resistance could affect the operation of the entire organization, such as their market strategy, strategic goals and employee management. In general, these resistances affects the organization’s external environment and competitive. Once these resistances influence beyond the scope that managers can be controlled, it will be hard to continue to develop and change. As a result, it can make the operation and development of the entire organization become slowly so that they lost a lot of opportunities in the industry.
“Leaders are the key drivers of change” (Thechangeforum 2013) Leadership plays an important role in managing resistance to change. The leaders could be the drivers or obstacle of change to an organisation. Different organizations have different role of the culture. Each culture has its own function, such as power culture, person culture and so on. They all affect the operation of organisation. Leaders can do some adjust according to the current situation so that to adapt to the development of industry, such as economic trends and technology.
For instance, JC Penney has very rigid organizational culture, which employees should strictly abide by the rules of the company in daily work. Before the change their culture, JCP is a company which do not allow subordinates to call the first name of the boss, and should call them Mr.XXX. Moreover, JCP do not allow staffs to decorate their space and also to limit their dress code. The employees who working in this environment might be feel pressure for long time.
Power culture is the main culture before they change in LCP. A Power culture mainly exists in small groups, which means Leader control lower level directly. Power culture relies on trust, empathy and personal communication for its effectiveness. There are few rules and procedures, and little bureaucracy as well. The advantage of a Power Culture is that decisions can be made very quickly. However, the decision maker affects the decision quality directly, which means the followers have risks to follow the decision completely.
The positive impact of power culture in JCP is that Ullman realized the need for change. He understood the importance of changing into new organizational culture and to form an informal organizational culture for JCP.
The negative impact is that In JCP, Centralized power was handled in few people, so it decreases the satisfaction of employees. Also there are rigid and very formal working environment in JC penny, which means it would restrain the employees’ innovation and creativity. And result in a high employee turnover for JCP as well.
Therefore, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. That is reason why they need to change their organizational culture.
Although there is little management can do about resistance to change, but as manager could influence others behaviour so that get balance in different aspects.
Mullins, L.J. (2013). Management and Organisational Behaviour. United Kingdom: FT Publishing International.
Thechangeforum (2013), available from:
http://thechangeforum.com/Change%20Leadership.htm (accessed on 24 March 2014)