Reducing Resistance To Change
When resistance to change is seen as dysfunctional, what actions can be take? Reducing resistance to change can best be understood by considering the complexity inherent in the change process. Kurt Lewin (1947), contends that permanent changes in behaviour involve three aspects: unfreezing previous behaviour, changing, and then refreezing the new patterns.
- is the readiness to acquire or learn new behaviour.
- occurs when people who perceive the need for change try out new ideas.
- takes place when the new behaviour patterns are accepted and followed and followed willingly.
These three stages are crucial of changes in culture are required (see Figure 57).
Moreover, Margerison and Smith (1989) suggest that the management of changes exhibits four key features:
- dissatisfaction with the present strategies and styles;
- vision of the better alternative;
- a strategy for implementing the change and attaining the desired state;
- resistance to the proposals at some stage.
Because resistance typically accompanies proposed change, managers must be able to reduce the effects of this resistance to ensure the success of needed modifications.Kotter and Schlesinger, who studied the phenomenon of resistance to change, suggest the following strategies for dealing with it.
The most common mistake managers make is to use only one approach or a limited set of them regardless of the situation. Successful change efforts seem to be those where these choices both are internally consistent and fit some key situational variables. The strategic options can be useful thought of as existing on a continuum.
At one end of the continuum, the change strategy calls for a very rapid implementation; at the other end of the continuum, the strategy would call for a much slower change process. Exactly where a change effort should be strategically positioned on the continuum in Exhibit 52 depends on four factors:
- The amount and kind of resistance that is anticipated
- The greater the anticipated resistance, the more a manager will need to move toward the right on the continuum to find ways to reduce some of it.
- The position of the initiator visa'vis the resistors, especially with regard to power
- The stronger the initiator's position, the more manager can move to the right.
- The person who has the relevant data for designing the change and the energy for implementing it
- The more the initiators anticipate that they will need information and commitment from others to help design and implement the change, the more they must move to the right.
- The stakes involved
- The greater the shortrun potential for risks to organizational performance and survival if the present situation is not changed, he more one must move to the left.
Organizational change efforts that ignore these situational factors inevitable run into problems. Moreover, in a business world that continues to become more and more dynamic, the consequences of poor implementation choices will become increasingly serve.