Resistance to change

Topics: Change management, Organizational studies, Organization / Pages: 19 (5826 words) / Published: May 29th, 2014
Effects of Resistance on Organizational Learning Introduction
It is indisputable whether resistance and learning are two important issues contemporary organizational leaders have to manage. While both concepts have received considerable attention in academic research, albeit with little consensus on their conceptual underpinnings, there is still a dearth of systematic research on the actual effects of resistance on organizational learning. However, due to its supposed role in hindering organizational change initiatives, resistance has been commonly prescribed a negative connotation. This prevailing viewpoint inherently makes it easy to slip into an interpretation of resistance as dysfunctional for organizational learning. This essay contends that this dominant perception is largely a result of an assumption favoring the management or change agent as rational, and the consequential treatment of resistant behaviors as irrational. The aim of this article, then, is to offer a re-conceptualization of resistance beyond the contextual confines of change, and explore its functional roles, particularly in stimulating organizational learning. Firstly, the conceptualizations of resistance and organizational learning will be explored. In particular, due to the aim to explore the fundamental features of resistance beyond the organizational literature and the overwhelming diversity of the conceptualization, this essay will draw on the work of Hollander and Einwohner (2004), who have conducted a comprehensive review and analysis of resistance based on a large number of published work on the topic. Then, Jost and Bauer 's (2003) pain metaphor and Weick 's (2003) assertions on the importance of moments of interruptions will be employed to show how resistance can be seen as a resource that acts to signal that something is going wrong and needs rectification. It will be further argued that, by triggering awareness and directing attention to a problem, resistance acts to call for



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