Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Development, People, Organization, Resistance, Management, Behavior, Resist, Inevitable

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/08

Human Resource Management


Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior refers to the behavior of people in organizational settings. It can be represented by the study of behavior of individuals towards organizations, and behavior of organizations towards individuals and other related people. One of the most important things in organizational behavior is a change in its functioning, thereby affecting the working staff. On the other hand, individuals’ behavior can be seen as a reaction to that change. People react in different ways to the change as, for example, they can resist or support the change, or show commitment and openness to the change.

Resistance to change in an organization

Resistance to Change (RTC) can be described as a tendency of a person to resist or avoid any kind of changes. This tendency can also be related to devalue the changes (Oreg, 2003). Therefore, RTC can be considered as a phenomenon that is related to strong negative implications. People, who are resistant to change are often irresponsible, short sighted and selfish kind of people. However, depending on the perspective and intent of organization, RTC can be functional resulting in greater commitment (Ford, Ford, and D'amelio, 2008).
RTC is an inevitable phenomenon in any organization depending on the dimensions of attitude of people and reasons of change. Two main situational factors in the inevitable RTC are “content of change” i.e. individuals resist the change due to the change itself, and “process of change”, i.e. individuals resist the change because they don’t like the way of introduction of change.

Dimensions of attitude in the RTC

According to Piderit (2000), RTC can be considered as a set of responses to change that are negative emotionally, cognitively and intentionally. However, three dimensions of attitude can illustrate people’s response to the change. These are:
Cognitive dimension: It is related to the belief whether the change is negative or positive. In this dimension, individuals think whether the change is essential to the organization or it can destroy it.
Emotional dimension: It is related to the emotional response towards the change that can be in the form of excitement or fear.

Intentional dimension: It is related to the support or opposition to the change.

Reasons that make the resistance inevitable
Kanter presented ten reasons for resistance of employees. These reasons could result in the resistance to organizational change (Kanter, 2012). These are as follows:
Loss of control over territory can be the reason for resistance as most people want to feel in control of events around them.
Excessive uncertainty can increase the chances of varying thoughts in people. They want to know things and changes. In this case, a common saying goes, “it’s safer to stay with the devil you know than commit yourself to the devil you don’t know.”
Amazement of people on a sudden decision can provoke negative emotions. People are easily shocked when there has been no groundwork or preparation in presenting a change.
Difference effect, i.e. everything appears different after change can be one of the important reasons in RTC. Change requires people to work differently, and this takes effort in light of habitual works.
Loss of face or situation can make the people to think that acceptance of change would refer to the wrong performance in the past. In this case, RTC would be inevitable.
Concerns about future competence can result in resistance based on fear that people don’t have abilities to deal with the future.
Ripple effects show the disruption in a number of departments. People may find that the change interferes with their own working plans and the anticipation of disruptions causes resistance.
More work is one of the most common things that come with change. It is a common observation that change requires extra effort and takes time, and people may not be willing to put forth that extra effort

Past resentments may include old wounds and unresolved grievances that may strangle the change effort.

If the threat is real and the change can actually hurt, RTC is inevitable. Change may create winners and losers, and if people lose power or status, they may resist the change.

Managerial influence in RTC

RTC often result in failure of many changes within an organization, thereby affecting its overall performance. In this regard, managers, in any organization, can play an important role. They are among those people, who have a significant involvement in any kind of change in an organization. Managers have to work on the organizational goals and in this process they have to persuade people to think about common goals as people’s personal goals can be different from the organizational goals. Managers have to motivate employees in accepting the desired changes and working along with these changes. Most important thing that can help managers in influencing people is their intent. It has been found that people may accept the negative feedback, if it is from a well-liked source as it can help in showing good intentions (Furst and Cable, 2008).

Concluding Remarks

Organizations usually go through the process of change, and in this process people working in that organization can show RTC. This resistance can develop unintentionally as people in that organization are much more satisfied with the present conditions. However, in case of any change in an organization, managers can play an important role in motivating employees to go with the change. Managers can use their relationships with people to tell them benefits of change and help them in going with the change.


Ford, J. D., Ford, L. W. and D'amelio, A. 2008. RTC: The rest of the story. Academy of management review, 33, 362-377.
Furst, S. A. and Cable, D. M., 2008. Employee resistance to organizational change: managerial influence tactics and leader-member exchange. J Appl Psychol, 93, 453-62.
Kanter, R. M., 2012. Ten Reasons People Resist Change. hbr.org Harvard Business Review, [blog] 25 September. Available at: < https://hbr.org/2012/09/ten-reasons-people-resist-chang.html > [Accessed 05 September 2015].
Oreg, S., 2003. RTC: developing an individual differences measure. Journal of applied Psychology, 88, 680.
Piderit, S. K., 2000. Rethinking resistance and recognizing ambivalence: A multidimensional view of attitudes toward an organizational change. Academy of management review, 25, 783-794.

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