Reorganization is often feared because it can introduce a threat to employees’ jobs by upsetting the established ways of performing business. Many times the needed changes are deferred, followed by a loss in effectiveness and increased costs.
However, the importance of organizational change has been pointed out repeatedly. That means managers still need to consider how they will make continued technological developments and refurbished their workforce. Therefore, undertaking moderate organizational changes in a year and considerable changes every three or four years is necessary.
Organizational change efforts are more likely to run into some form of human resistance. Understanding who might resist the change initiative and for what reasons is the first step to implementing change. Using past experiences as references, managers can gain a clear picture of the employees who are likely to resist the change. For example, surveying departments that were most affected by previous change efforts can shed light on how to make new change initiative plans more successful for the future. This is because we can examine past behaviors to predict future results.
The fact is, all employees are affected by the change and may experience some form of emotional turmoil. To better understand what forms of resistance might come up, it is wise to review the most common reasons people resist change. This is where behavior change management comes into the picture. It helps the organization better understand why there is a low tolerance for change and how to overcome the issue.
One significant reason behind the resistance is that employees think that they will lose value. In these instances, since people often emphasize their best interests and not the overall organization, chances of developing a very limited or narrow outlook can become higher. Polarizing behaviors can start to emerge before and during the change efforts, which could take the form in many different parts of the organization.
Another common reason for resistance is that people think that this will lead to more costs than benefits, not only for themselves but also for their organization. They often seem to misunderstand that any change that alters the way of work or the daily functions in the organization is more advantageous for the management than the employees. Therefore, they fail to evaluate that it is actually for the greater good of the organization, which includes the employees, too, that a particular change is made. This misperception leads to resistance.
People often resist organizational change when they are unaware of the implications of the shift and perceive that it might do more harm than good. Such circumstances often emerge due to a lack of trust and communication between the change initiators and the employees. As a result, misunderstanding can arise in the event of the introduction of the change, leading to resistance. That resistance can take initiators by surprise, especially when they assume that people only resist change when it is not in their best interests.
Managers are responsible for understanding the various responses to change and their potential to influence the response, good or bad. Following are the steps of dealing with the resistance effectively:
Overcoming resistance to change is possible when there is communication between the change initiators and employees. Clear communication explaining the expected positive outcomes of a proposed change can help deal with this situation. In addition, communicating the idea and reasons for the transition to employees can help them understand its logic. This transparent communication can happen in the form of one-on-one discussions, presentations or reports, and memos.
Suppose the change initiators involve the resisters in some aspects of change implementation and new design orientation. In that case, it is possible to prevent resistance to the change. Moreover, with a participative change strategy, the initiators can seek recommendations from the potential resisters.
Another fruitful way to deal with resistance is by offering incentives to potential resisters. To illustrate, management could offer a higher wage rate in return for a work rule change. In other words, negotiating an agreement by implementing incentive based ideas based on changes that are created by the team.
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