Thisliterature reviews in depth, resistance to change. Specifically, the reasonsbehind employee’s resistance to decisions made by a higher authority. Employeesthemselves can quickly become overwhelmed by change. Especially in largeorganisations where it is perceived there is little or no control on thedecisions inflicted upon them. It is also important to understand manager’s interpretationof employee’s resistance can affect the implementation of decisions made.Resistance can cost an organisation profoundly, regarding expense and time.Such reactions to decisions can also be challenging to anticipate and thus,prevent.
Change additionally requires commitment, which both organisations andemployees can struggle with. In addition to this, the rate of change has escalatedin virtually all organisations causing managers to make critical, ever moreimpacting, decisions. Organisational resistance has been central to researchfor many years. Within such time, limitations have come to light. Scholars suchas Dent and Goldberg (1999) argue for the retirement of the concept ‘resistanceto change’ seemingly claiming that the interests of managers cannot overpowerthe interest of a worker. In this study of resistance and managerial decisions,this will be explored. Resistanceitself, is commonly considered to be the standard, if not natural response tochange (Boonstra, 2004, pp-321).
Bhutan (1995) found it is essential toidentify the symptoms of change and keep these distinct to the causes behindthem. Recognising the danger of determining a symptom to change, when lookingfor the cause. There are many reasons behind resistance to managerialdecisions.
Dawson (2003) found factors which create resistance include changingof job nature, transfer of jobs, psychological pressure, job insecurity,disturbance in societal arrangement and lowering of status in some way. Cochand French (1948) study into clothing manufacturers found that lower employeeparticipation causes mistrust between managers and increases the employee’sresistance to change. Prosci (2003) research also identified employees oftenoppose change due to new processes and technologies amounting to additional jobresponsibilities. Furthermore, it is essential to add the different assessmentin identifying the necessities and benefits of the decision, and the combinedfactor that some individuals have a low tolerance for change innately. Lorenzo(2000) additionally acknowledged that past failures leave negative connotationfor future change.
Research highlighted, identifies causes of employee control,combined with low employee participation can produce high levels of resistance.It also defines many causes to be attributed to a culture of the business andgroup influence. Furthermore,research into personal factors of employees can also assist in understandingthe resistance to change. These include age, gender and personality traits. Itcan also include educational levels (Gaylor, 2001). Additionally, Kotter andSchlesinger (1979) identified four reasons behind why commonly, people resistchange.
These include; focus on own interests, this may be the fear of losingsomething of value, such could consist of skills and status. Additionally, isthe misunderstanding of change costing more than can be gained, which mayinclude a lack of trust in the manager implementing change. As well asmanipulation and co-option as ways change is usually destroyed. Regardingpower-resistance relations, this research recognises the extent to whichleaders are responsible for change through questioning power authenticity inreal-life organisations. It additionally, identifies problems addressed byDawson (2003) and other scholars in disturbance of societal arrangement,frustration and lowering status of workers. Agocs,C (1997) research into the acceptance of the power relations approach delvesdeeper into the culture of change.
The suggestion that resistance itself isinstitutionalised suggests its embodiment in organisational structure; with alldecisions made. Institutionalised beliefs are interpreted as objective reality,stabilizing the organisation. In addition to this, power holders themselves usethe control to resist change when perceived as threatening. Furthermore, Agocs continues to identify atypology to the process of institutionalised change which can be adopted in astudy in hospital workers (Kellogg, 2009).
The first two stages interpret thedenial of legitimacy in terms of the case for change, and the refusal torecognise individual responsibility in addressing the change issue (pp-920).This can be identified in Bayshore and Advent case study, where staff recognisedthe problems of the quality of work life for surgical residents and thepotential to improve quality of patient safety through this. Yet attribution ofblame was directed at the interns themselves when the change began to beimplemented. There was resistance in fully understanding the new system, andwhether it could be workable or not. This lead to blame, of the problemsresulting from the change, being attributed to the wrong members of staff. Whenissues did arise, no senior management was punished, highlighting such refusalto address the change. Additionally, stages three and four of Agocs theory,acknowledge the refusal to implement a change that has been adopted and theintentional dismantling of the change initiative once implementation hadbegun. The split motives of managers, inthis case, surgeons, whom embraced change and resisted can be recognised here.
Their power as surgical directors and surgical staff, as well as chiefs, meanttheir personal stance on the change reflected in their management of seniorsand interns. This highlights the conflict between informal and formal rules inan organisation; it is not enough for dictation from a top-down influence, asdisconnect can occur between practice and the rules. The higher authoritiesinfluence of power is formulated with expertise and profound knowledge of theorganisation. This, as well as their personal and collective influence consequentlymanipulated their beliefs and performance in the workplace. This is somethingwhich stopped all change attempts in Bayshore but also benefited the change inAdvent. The difference was the ability to create teams favorable for reformthrough an isolated area where communication could take place, creatingconditions for possibilities.
This can be supported by the work of Kotter andSchlesinger (1979) who found education and communication, involvement,facilitation and support, negotiation and agreement to be key attributes indealing with resistance. Indeed, Bayshore hospital itself held a strong cultureof ‘iron men’. The need to identify as taking on such role enhanced the problemof being an overworked intern. In Advent, this was not the case. There wasperhaps more sway to helping interns, which aided success.
Thus, it can beidentified how resistors and change agents are not clear-cut. From eachperspective, it can be seen the opposing colleagues are, in themselves,resisting change. Changecannot occur without employee involvement; as acceptance and commitment areessential factors for success.
A significant amount of research identifies thatchanges which hold low employee involvement, with less consideration of theirinterests, eliminate their commitment and motivation. Moreover, quality ofleadership has been widely acknowledged to influence employees work-involvementand commitment (Parry, 1999). Consequently, managers are a significant factorin driving employee’s willingness to change. Ford and Fords (2009), decodingresistance to change, recognise the need for active managers to identify withand learn from their critics, to hold key insights into diverse approaches tochange. It defines that blaming resistors can lead to destructive managerialbehaviors.
Such managerial behaviors caninclude becoming defensive and uncommunicative. In pushing change withoutunderstanding resistance, they sacrifice valuable relationships and wasteopportunities that could improve the implantation of change. They cannot seethe flaws and setbacks in their plan, and this itself sabotages its success.Such research highlights the argument that the reason for resistance lies inthe manager’s ability. Through understanding resistance as a resource, managersthemselves need to adjust their mindset.
Reasoning highlights the apparent needfor bureaucracy and transparency in implementing change. As resistance as aresource can enhance prospects for success. Furthermore, contrasting attitudestowards resistance are evident in perceptions of the managers themselves.
Highlighting the importance of defining resistance, and the apparent need formanagers to overcome this difficulty through adaption. Questionably,this view may highlight a need for organisations to foster ambivalent attitudestoward change. Pidert (2000) research in identifying employee responses as’multidimensional attitudes’ further aids this. Pidert critiques past researchon resistance in failing to identify good intentions of resistors.
Pidert’smultidimensional attitudes identify cognitive, emotional and intentionalattributes that would be best considered in the process of change. Such newapproach identified, aids all employees in the involvement of the process, andnot just power agents such as managers. Spreitzer and Quinn (1996) study on Ford managers further emphasised theability for people in higher power to maintain appearances; through notsupporting change when necessary; showing the ability for individuals to choosebetween new visions and their self-interest. Findings showed middle managersthemselves blamed executives above them for resisting change. Such research isconsistent with the work of Agocs (1997). Such research highlighted how middlemanagers themselves could fail to support the implementation of change, whichcan come across in their ability to manage.
Nonetheless,Labianca et al (2000) stressed the role of managers as role models. Findingsshowed the ability for employees to watch supervisors intently, waiting to seewhether management’s commitment to change is skeptical. Such researchidentifies managers as critical change agents, especially in top-downalteration. It additionally highlights the difficulty for managers to makesense of reactions; being a vital role and challenging role. Managers mustcommunicate their understandings in ways that provide subordinates withcertainty. This plays with cognitive and behavioral responses of managers whengiven the challenge of adopting a change in which they may not have a say over,onto employees whom equally removed from the decision-making process. Indecision making, the prominence of communication and creating conditions to aidthis are imperative. Dent and Goldberg (1999) work recognise that humans andhow we change, has not affected any understanding concerning resistance, inacademic work.
Through accepting employee’s reasons for resisting, causes toovercome can be identified. Further supported in Kotter (1995) research whichstudied 100 companies over a ten-year period. Findings showed employeesunderstood the reasons for change and wanted to make it happen. But obstacleswere identified, in place, that prevented accomplishment. It further identifiedpersonal obstacles are rare. Consequently, the main reasons for employeeresistance are not personal but organisational issues.
Highlightingaccountability to the organisation itself, and authority figures. Similarly,this also highlights resistance to change identified in most managerial andleadership textbooks. Questioning durability and authenticity of such work.
First, reasons for resistance are made aware. Highlighting uncertainty, threat,consequences of decisions, loss, and tolerance. Recommendations for change alsofollow a similar pattern of education, negotiation, facilitation, and coercionof some form. The belief that manipulation (Kreitner, 1992), such as withholdinginformation, to implement change on employees with the least amount ofopposition are investigated.
Such recommendations are written with the beliefthat change is the right thing, and resistors are disruptive to thisprocess. Additionally, change isrecognised as a psychological concept. In contrast to the work of Ford and Ford(2009). Moreover, Lewins (1947) workrecognised barriers to change through a force-field analysis; he identifiedthat weakening the obstacles to change was easier itself then strengthening thedrivers. Such view is recognising homeostatic control. He highlighted theimportance of group dynamics itself, and how these play a role in socialmanagement. It could be considered here, that the best way to achieve dynamicchange is for power influence such as executives to immerse themselves ininstitutional change. Lewin’s work highlighted a more systematic view than apsychological one as dominant.
Thus, the importance of perception, as isadopted with a different meaning, and how managers themselves deal withimplementing change in their workforce has a direct effect on the reactions ofemployees. Suchleads us to the work of Ezzamel et al (2001). An examination of frustratedmanagement efforts in re-engineering working practices, in response tocorporate-driven initiatives. Manager’s role in a company is to ensuresufficient productive attempt in accumulating capital for goods and service,accrued by such labor is defined. Conflicts between owners and workers; as wellas design and organisation of work, is prevalent and is usually dealt with bybeing suppressed or institutionalised. It also picks up on the idea in thelabor process analysis that there is a disregard to worker’s resistance; informs of control, playing a role in the formation and development of managementcontrol strategies.
Nor, does it incorporate an appreciation as to how thedirection of the approach perused by management may address resistance and inways strengthen strategy. Such study, also identified the knowledgeability andcapability of human beings themselves, and such role in resistance; whichdespite evidence (Kotter, 1995) still plays a mediating role. The case study atthe Northern plant found workers to become skeptical of ‘lean’ workingpractices as they perceived it to be an intensification of management control.
Rather than a relaxation of direct supervision, deploying more offensivestrategies to resistance; they viewed such practices as undermining authorityand credibility of managers. Such study highlighted the power ofidentity-investments in driving workers understanding and response to lean productioninitiatives. It is also pertinent how identity concerns hinder, as well as,facilitate management control strategies (Willmott, 1997). Internalinfluences, such as advancements in technologies, global markets, and capital,intensify pressures to cut costs while enhancing flexibility continually. Thus,has a significant impact on managerial decision making.
Luscher and Lewis(2008) case study on a lego company used the mantra; ‘the problem is not theproblem, the way you think about the problem is the problem’ developed aworking through paradox model for managers. Applying this model helped enablenew insight into managerial challenges. Through identifying managerial issuesin paradoxes of performing, belonging and organising and through developingeach situation, into an approach toward a more workable certainty.
Throughchanging the relationships, the organisation itself and the roles within this.Such study, dealing with immediate problems managers were facing, did not seekto delve deeper into future efforts. Furthermore, this deals with paradoxicalissues which do not define all managerial decisions.
It is also easy formanagers when faced with a problematic response to change, refer to the problemsolving linear mode. Nevertheless, the ability to be aware of such paradoxescan become a key managerial tool going forward in understanding inconsistenciesand contradictions in such a dynamic setting; building a more creative theory.Such research overall was found to aid dealing with manager’s anxieties whendealing with change, but this did not make them disappear. Therefore, it is anunderstanding to develop productivity in change.
Ifinish with the need for bureaucracy; where change is possible. Employeesthemselves resist managerial decisions due to psychological and systematicinfluences. It is apparent that the role of the middle manager in this paradoxis to understand the reasons behind resistance and recognise the need to adaptto such reasons or overcome them.
The purpose of both influences has beenexplored in this assignment. And the most recent research has grown towardsgroup influence and the role of the institution in adapting to change ratherthan that of individual employees. I leave this assignment with a critical viewthat the role of management and power is impertinent in understandingresistance going forward. In bothdefenders and reformers to change; perceptions of fairness are different.
Thus,bureaucracy is the grounds in which is needed, to agree and disagree amounting toa mutual understanding, touched upon in the work of Luscher and Lewis (2008).Overall, time and effort are required at all level of authority in an organisation,to understand reasons for resistance and solutions will be different, in eachspecific case.