Real Reason People Wont Change

Topics: Assumption of Mary, The Hidden, Assumption of Moses Pages: 6 (1933 words) Published: April 13, 2012
"The real reason people won't change" is an article by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. The article was first published in November 2001 in Harvard Business Review. The article describes and summarize about the personal immunity of people that resist them from being changed. The real reason people wont change is not due to lack of skill and deep commitment within them but it is due to hidden competing commitment followed by big assumptions. For some, the need is confidence-building, for others it's behavior change or skill development. But sometimes, no matter how hard a person tries, their progress remains inexplicably stalled. The situation can be as frustrating to bosses, colleagues, and family members as it is to the individual. Organizational psychologists Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey developed the theory of a "competing commitment" to explain what they term "personal immunity to change." Competing commitments are long held belief that has become an integral part of their make up so that it is difficult to change. When these beliefs are uncovered, change is possible. And it is still true that some people opt not to disrupt their immunity to change, choosing instead to continue their fruitless struggle against their competing commitments. The competing commitments cause even the valued employee to behave in inexplicably and irremediable way. It is a subconscious hidden goal of the people that conflicts with their stated commitments. Many of these 'competing commitments' are based on long-held beliefs that are an integral part of their make-up so they can be difficult to change. Some examples of competing commitments are:

* Dragging one's feet on an assignment because one wants to avoid a next tougher assignment or future lack of work. * Avoiding teamwork or meetings because one wants to avoid the conflict that is associated with it. * Using sarcastic disruptive humor to keep oneself at a distance from a work group you may not want to be associated with.

The article is a psychological analysis and research about the reason that resist people from being changed. The research of the article is mainly concern about uncovering the hidden competing commitment and unearthing big assumptions. It is not an easy task to uncover the hidden commitment but author has suggested to go through the set of questions. They have developed 3 stage processes to help organizations to figure out what’s getting on way to change? 1. Manager guides employees to uncover competing commitments through the set of questions. 2. Employees examine these commitments to determine underlying assumptions. 3. Start the process of changing behavior.

The author presents the example of John who is a talented manager at a software company. Though he is an open communicative type and values close relationship with others, because of his racial group he could not well integrated with the team even if he wanted. He believed that if he became well integrated with the team, it would threaten his sense of loyalty to his own racial group betraying his family and friends. John was genuinely committed to working with team but he had a powerful hidden competing commitment keeping him distance. Another example cited in the article is that of Helen, a manager at manufacturing company. Though she was committed to increase the production of the product she could not succeed. She had an unrecognized commitment of maintaining subordinate relationship with her boss Andrew. She thought that she would me more a peer than a subordinate so wouldn’t be up to the task. The article also describes about the big assumptions. Every employee who just does not change had a hidden commitment because of the assumptions resulting from the competing commitment. Some leaders assume that they would be incompetent if they couldn’t solve all the problems that come up. Even if they have a commitment to...
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