Resistance to Change

Topics: Change management, Psychology, Cognition Pages: 24 (7377 words) Published: May 6, 2012
Leadership & Organization Development Journal
Emerald Article: Resistance to organizational change: the role of cognitive and affective processes Wayne H. Bovey, Andy Hede

Article information:
To cite this document: Wayne H. Bovey, Andy Hede, (2001),"Resistance to organizational change: the role of cognitive and affective processes", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 22 Iss: 8 pp. 372 - 382 Permanent link to this document: Downloaded on: 12-04-2012 References: This document contains references to 45 other documents Citations: This document has been cited by 7 other documents To copy this document: This document has been downloaded 7525 times.

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Resistance to organizational change: the role of cognitive and affective processes

Wayne H. Bovey Bovey Management (Certified Consultants), Queensland, Australia Andy Hede University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia


Organizational change, Resistance, Individual behaviour, Organizational behaviour

Organizational change causes individuals to experience a reaction process (Kyle, 1993). Scott and Jaffe (1988) describe the process as consisting of four phases, namely: initial denial, resistance, gradual exploration, and eventual commitment. Resistance is a natural and normal response to change because change often involves going from the known to the unknown (Coghlan, 1993; Steinburg, 1992; Myers and Robbins, 1991; Nadler, 1981; Zaltman and Duncan, 1977). Not only do individuals experience change in different ways (Carnall, 1986), they also differ in their ability and willingness to adapt to change (Darling, 1993). This paper investigates whether a relationship exists between an individual's cognitive and affective processes and their willingness to adapt to major organizational change. This topic is important because the failure of many corporate change programs is often directly attributable to employee resistance (Maurer, 1997; Spiker and Lesser, 1995; Regar et al., 1994; Martin, 1975). For example, a longitudinal study of 500 large organizations found employee resistance was the most frequently cited problem encountered by management when implementing change (Waldersee and Griffiths, 1997). More than half the organizations in that survey experienced difficulties with employee resistance. Successfully managing resistance is a major challenge for change initiators and is arguably of greater importance than any other aspect of the change process (O'Connor, 1993). Management usually focuses on the technical elements of change with a tendency to neglect the equally important human element which is often crucial to the successful implementation of change The research register for this journal is available at...

Citations: Introduction
Organizational change causes individuals to experience a reaction process (Kyle, 1993)
Operationalizing affect
Affective processes are usually operationalized as emotions and feelings that are related to actions (Wrightsman and Sanford, 1975)
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