Term Paper on Managing Employee Resistance to Change

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Employees resist change for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from a straightforward intellectual disagreement over facts to deep-seated psychological prejudices. Some of these reasons for employee resistance may include:

* belief that the change initiative is a temporary fad
* belief that fellow employees or managers are incompetent * loss of authority or control
* loss of status or social standing
* lack of faith in their ability to learn new skills
* feeling of change overload (too much too soon)
* lack of trust in or dislike of managers
* loss of job security
* loss of family or personal time
* feeling that the organization is not entitled to the extra effort For some people resisting change, there may be multiple reasons. Adding to this complexity is the fact that sometimes the stated reason hides the real, more deeply personal reason. You will also need to recognize that people work through a psychological change process as they give up the old and come to either embrace or reject the new. Typically, they may experience an initial denial, then begin to realize that the change cannot be ignored. Strong feelings may emerge, such as fear, anger, helplessness and frustration. Finally, the person accepts the change either negatively, with feelings of resignation and complacency, or positively, with renewed enthusiasm to capitalize on the changes. Watch out for employees who get “stuck” in one phase. Offer your support. Allow space for people to work through the stages. Give employees time to draw breath and listen with empathy. Definition -

On the front end, you need to define the change for the employee in as much detail and as early as you can. Provide updates as things develop and become more clear. In the case of the desk that has to be moved, tell the employee what's going on. "We need to bring in more workers. Our sales have increased by 40% and we can't meet that demand, even with lots of overtime. To make room for them, we'll have to rearrange things a little." You could even ask the employees how they think the space should be rearranged. You don't have to accept their suggestions, but it's a start toward understanding. Definition is a two-way street. In addition to defining the problem, you need to get the employees to define the reasons behind their resistance. Understanding -

Understanding is also a two-way street. You want people to understand what is changing and why. You also need to understand their reluctance. * You have to help your people understand. They want to know what the change will be and when it will happen, but they also want to know why. Why is it happening now? Why can't things stay like they have always been? Why is it happening to me? * It is also important that they understand what is not changing. Not only does this give them one less thing to stress about, it also gives them an anchor, something to hold on to as they face the winds of uncertainty and change. * You need to understand their specific fears. What are they concerned about? How strongly do they feel about it? Do they perceive it as a good or a bad thing?

Reactions to Organizational Change
If you identify and manage resistance to change poorly, you can very quickly strangle your change program or, alternatively, slowly and unnoticeably starve it to death. Who are your resisters and how are they resisting? Change recipients who are dead against the change...
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