Change management in organizations must be managed correctly to achieve the intended results. Choose an organizations’ internal environmental factor and explain the reason change is resisted by it.


Reasons People Resist Change

Change is the adoption of something different (Russell –Jones 2003). When applied to organisations, change involves a degree of shift from the 

Russell-Jones (2003) highlighted four possible reasons for resisting change which includes:

  1. employees not being clear about the focus of change
  2. employees feeling threatened by the new idea or change
  3. employees perceiving the change as targeted at them and
  4. internal organizational politics among employees.

Employees are an important internal environmental factor of an organization.

Some employees resist change even when the change management process and focus is clear because of strong affiliations to old techniques, processes or habits.

Generally, when employees are cultured for a long time to attempt problems from a particular perspective, giving up such approaches for a new approach is usually difficult (Davidson et al. 2009, p. 741).

Internal politics in an organization can result in resistance to change. This usually occurs at the middle to top management where minor change might result in a reduction of power and influence in the organization.

Strong informal relationships may fuel resistance and when this group suppresses the formal relationships, these employees might feel emboldened to resist proposed changes.

Other employees however resist change as a result of “threatened self-interest”. Some managers might sense that their positions will be eliminated especially if the change involves an acquisition or a merger and people feel threatened to be back in a job hunt 
(Davidson et al. 2009, p. 741).

When change is not communicated properly to employees it can be resisted since employees will consider the change as being targeted at them. This can result in low performance to the proposed change, riots, strikes which can diminish company reputation.

Uncertainty and fear for the future can also fuel resistance to change (Davidson et al. 2009, p. 740).

Measures of Addressing Change Resistance

Advocates of force-field argue that forces restraining change should be weakened first before change can be implemented, this is because exerting strongly on the driving forces may result in an equal or even greater opposite force pushing back.

In order to weaken the restraining forces, organizations can adopt any of the six approaches (education and communication, participation and involvement, facilitation and support, negotiation and agreement, manipulation and co-optation and explicit and implicit coercion) as advocated by Kotter and Schlesinger (2008, p. 136).

However, caution should be exercised on how these approaches are implemented as there is no one fit all strategy, rather the best approach that fits each situation should be researched upon and applied accordingly.


Russell-Jones, N 2003, The managing change pocketbook, Management Pocketbooks, Alresford, UK.

Davidson, P, Simon, A, Woods, P& Griffin, R 2009, Management, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons Australian Ltd, Australia.

Kotter, J,P & Schlesinger, L,A 2008, ‘Choosing strategies for change’, Harvard Business Review, July-August, pp. 130-139.

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