The paper focuses on how to manage deviant behaviors and resistance to change. Change affects four basic aspects of the company: its strategy, technology, structure and employees. All these present individuals with new situations, new problems, challenges, ambiguity and uncertainty and threaten the status quo. Case study was used to examine practical implementation of change processes in some selected organizations. It was discovered that change affects authoritative allocation of both human and material resources and encourages competition which heats up the political climate in organizations. Resistance to change might be expressed through deviant behaviors to truncate the process or prevent implementation. The paper identifies proper education, effective communication, facilitation, motivation, negotiation, manipulation, co-optation and coercion as possible methods for managing resistance to change. The use of any of these methods or combination of some, however, depends on the type of organization, nature of resistance and stage of intervention. The paper concludes that capacity to manage deviant behavior and smoothly implement change is critical to organizational survival. Managing deviant behavior and resistance to change should be accorded strategic importance to facilitate effectiveness and efficiency in organizations.
Key Words: Change; Resistance to Change; Deviant Behavior.
Managing Deviant Behavior and Resistance to Change
The world today is changing at an unprecedented rate, and the environment within which organizations operate is characterized by instability resulting from increased global competition, technological innovation and change, limited resources, deregulations and privatization (Carnall 1995). Change is an unavoidable phenomenon arising from the dynamics of environment and it is inevitable for an organization that desires to grow, achieve its mission, vision and objectives. Organizations have to adapt to the environment to become competitive and stay ahead or at least keep afloat. Work processes and rules are revised, new equipments are introduced, product lines are dropped and added, and workforce is adjusted as internal and external conditions change. Change refers to making something different from its initial position and involves confrontation with the unknown and loss of the familiar. Carr et al (2006) claim that it connotes a significant disruption in established patterns of behavior and/or expectation and could lead to discontinuity, destruction and replacement of familiar social structures and relationships. It could alter set patterns of behavior, define relationships with others, work procedures, and job skills. All these might present individuals with new situations, new problems and challenges, ambiguity and uncertainty. On an organizational level, they could lead to alteration of policies, procedures, sunk costs, organization structures, and manufacturing processes and flows (Harvey and Brown 2001). Invariably, change might affect authoritative allocation of both human and material resources and encourage competition which heats up the political climate in organizations. The politics of change is very critical and sensitive. Because change threatens the status quo, it inherently implies political activity. New employees who have invested less in status quo and managers who are slightly removed from the main power structure might tolerate the process. However, some high up individuals in the organizations might perceive it as a threat to their skills, status, positions and behavioral patterns and construe the process as undermining their competence. Coincidentally, this latter group is a major player in change process and capable of manifesting behavior of resistance. Proposing a change in an organization can affect several aspects beyond the initial conception. Change in structure may affect the culture of the organization as well as the attitude...
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