Resistance to Change

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Most people don't like change because they don't like being changed. When change comes into view, fear and resistance to change follow. People fight against change because they fear to lose something they value, don't understand the change and its implications don't think that the change makes sense, or find it difficult to cope with either the level or pace of the change. Resistance emerges when there’s a threat to something the individual values. The threat may be real or it may be just a perception. It may arise from a genuine understanding of the change or from misunderstanding, or even almost total ignorance about it. There is no way we can remove resistance to change, the only thing we can do is to minimize resistance to change. However, change is inevitable and here are some strategies which can be used to overcome this resistance to change.

One proven method is education and communication. This is of highest priority and first strategy for change. Employees can be informed about both the nature of the change and the logic behind it before it takes place through reports, memos, group presentations, or individual discussions. It improves urgency to change and reduces uncertainty (fear of unknown). Training can be given to provide new knowledge and skills. This includes coaching and action learning. It helps break old routines and adopt new roles. E.g., team coaches were brought in to train employees throughout the process of changing Unilever’s Elida Faberge factory into Europe’s best factory. The downsides of this strategy is that it is both time consuming and costly.

Another important component of overcoming resistance is to include employee participation and involvement in the planning, decision-making, and monitoring stages of the change strategy and this includes task forces and search conferences. It increases ownership of change and people who are involved in decisions understand them better and are more committed to them. It also helps in...
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