Changes require more effort from us to adapt. Change threatens our stability and security and we fear that we will not be able to cope withthe change. Resistance is the natural defense to such perceived threats. 2. WHY PEOPLE RESIST CHANGE 2.1 To know the symptoms of resistance to change, we have to understand why people resist change.
Reasons can range from as trivial (though not trivial to the person) as not knowing how to take a bus home (in the instance of a shift in the office) to as serious as fearing theloss of job or status. 2.1. 1 Fear of the unknown; The person does not know what is happening and why it is happening. Imagine a person walking down a street only to have a electricity blackout. He panics for a moment, because he does not know what had happened and he is afraid of being robbed or murdered inthe dark. Similarly employees do not like to be kept in the dark. They want to be kept informed of happenings, especially when it will affect them, so that they can prepare themselves for any onslaught. 2.1.
2 Disrupted habits: You can = t teach a old dog new [email protected] ring true in some instances. Older employees especially who are set in their ways get upset when they are told that they can no longer use the old method of doing things. In the 1960’s, the Singapore government advocated family planning banned spitting in public areas. The older folks who were brought up on the tradition that clearing phlegm is good for the lungs got pretty upset. 2.1. 3 Loss of face: The Chinese in Singapore are divided into various communities depending on their forefathers = origins in China and the dialect group. To unit the Chine, the Singapore government advocated these of Mandarin as a common language.
Use of dialects was strongly discouraged. Television shows and radio programmes in dialects [email protected] This pretty much upset the older folks who felt that their old traditions and culture were being A erased [email protected], and that the A [email protected] ways were not the A [email protected] ways. 2.1. 4 Loss of confidence: The employee feel that he cannot perform just as well under the new way of doing things. A typist who formerly could type at 60 wpm and now has to use the computer, is afraid that she cannot type just as fast on the machine.
In the 1960’s, English was promoted as the official language of Singapore. The older Chinese, who came to Singapore in the first half of the century, were mainly uneducated. They built up their businesses through hard work. Accounts were kept in Athe [email protected] and credit was given on trust. They felt that they would not able to cope just as well in the new English speaking environment. 2.1. 5 Loss of control: The government =’s population control policy encourage the Singapore citizens to A stop at [email protected]
Measures to discourage having more children, such as higher accouchement fees for the third child, low priority in education, etc. were implemented. Many couples felt that they had no choice but to follow the policy. Their feeling was of things being done to = you rather than by = or with = you. @. 2.1. 6 Poor timing: In these times, when changes are happening frequently, the employee will feel overwhelmed by the many changes and also that things are moving too fast.
Before he has learnt how to use WordPerfect 5.1, Microsoft comes out with Microsoft Word 6.0 and he has to re-learn again. 2.1. 7 Work overload: With the tight labour shortage in Singapore, many employees had A enjoyed job [email protected] Their energy is already consumed by the additional workload, and they do not have spare energy, physical or psychic to commit to the change. 2.1. 8 Lack of purpose: To control traffic congestion on the East Coast Expressway, the Communications Ministry had implemented the A Road Pricing [email protected] (RPS), whereby motorists using the East Coast Expressway (ECP) from 0730 hours to 1030 hours in the morning, have to pay a toll ofS$1.00.
Many motorists see this as purposeless, as the ECP was built to ease traffic congestion in the eastern part of the island. They do not see any reason for the change and / or do not understand the benefits. 3. DEFENSE MECHANISMS 3.1 Just as we resist physically when someone tries to assault us, we use resistance as a defense mechanism, when we perceive any change as threat. Resistance can be overt or implicit. 3.1. 1 Overt resistance) When resistance is overt and immediate, it is easiest to dealt with, as the causes for the resistance is easily seen.
For instance, a change is proposed and employees respond by voicing complaints, engaging in a work slowdown, threatening to go on strike, or the like. Management will be able to formulate strategies to deal withthe root causes of complaints. 3.1. 2 Implicit resistance) Implicit resistance is more subtle; theloss of loyalty to the organisation, loss of motivation to work, increased errors or mistakes, increased absenteeism due to A [email protected]) and hence more difficult to recognise. 3.1. 3 Deferred reactions blur the link between the source of resistance and reaction to it.
A change may produce what appears to be only a minimal reaction at the time it is initiated bur surfaces weeks, months or even years later. Or a single change in and of itself has little impact. But it becomes the A straw that breaks the camel =’s [email protected] 3.1. 4 Reactions to change can build up and then explodes in some response that seems totally out of proportion to the change it follows.
The resistance has merely been deferred and stockpiled. What surfaces isa response to an accumulation of previous changes. 4. SYMPTOMS OF RESISTANCE TO CHANGE 4.1 Symptoms to resistance can take the form of; 4.1. 1 Aggression) Showing hostility toward supervisor or fellow employees through gestures, words, or even physical attacks. 4.1.
2 Fantasy) Day dreaming of another world where the change is non-existent. 4.1. 3 Regression) Manifesting childlike behaviour such as crying, pouting to attract attention in the hope that the change will be abandoned by sympathetic superiors. 4.1. 4 Resignation / avoidance ) Having excessive absenteeism or tardiness, quitting the job or having a high sick-leave rate. The person create absences from the place of change, in order to avoid dealing or facing the change. 4.1.
5 Negativism) Putting up strong and irrational resistance to accepting the suggestions of others, so as influence others into the same thinking that the change is bad. 4.1. 6 Compensation) Exhibiting exaggerated behaviour such as using big words, being bossy to show that he / she is not afraid of the change, contrary to internal emotions. 4.1. 7 Rationalisation) Making excuses for one =’s behaviour in order to come to terms with one =’s guilt. 4.1. 8 Projection) blaming others for the problem. 5.
STRATEGIES TO REDUCE RESISTANCE 5.1 Resistance to change is not always dysfunctional. It can provide a vehicle for employees to release pent-up frustrations. Rather than let those frustrations fester, overt resistance allows employees to bring their feelings to the surface. Management can then address employee concerns, help them understand the change better, and lessen its threat. 5.2 Employee resistance may also bring to light problems in a change proposal that management had overlooked. In an odd way, employee resistance is a form of checks-and-balances on management and acts to preserve the organisation =’s culture.
5.3 Change, particularly if it effects will be tremendous and / or wide ranging should be properly planned. In planning a change, management should consider; 5.3. 1 the impact of change 5.3. 2 change management and approaches that can be used to overcome resistance and gain commitment to change 5.4 Change programme 5.4.
1 Senior management should then draw up a programme for the change; 5.4. 1.1 setting goals and defining the new state required after thechange 5.4. 1.2 analysing the present conditions in relation to the goals. 5.4. 1.3 defining the transitional activities and commitments required to achieve the new state. 5.4.
1.4 developing strategies and action plans for managing the transition. This involve identifying the forces resistant to change andthe reasons for resistance. 5.4. 1.5 identifying a Achange [email protected] to facilitate the change. 5.5 Impact of change 5.5. 1 To understand the impact of the change, it is essential for senior management to A come off their high [email protected] and listen to the ground.
Management can initiate discussion with trade unions and obtain their feedback and inputs on any proposed changes, before implementation. Union representatives, having stronger credibility with the members (employees) will also be the best person (s) to garner support for thechange. Management have to identify the perceived or real negative consequences of the change. 5.6 Change mechanism 5.6. 1 Reducing resistance to change can best be understood by considering the complexity inherent in the change process.
Successful change requires unfreezing the status quo, moving to a new state and refreezing the change to make it permanent. 5.6. 2 According to Lewin, the basic mechanism for managing change is; 5.6. 2.1 unfreezing – changing the present state which supports existing behaviours and attitudes. This process must also consider the perceived threats of any change (as earlier discussed) and the need to motivate people to achieve the new state by accepting the change. 5.6.
2.2 Changing – developing new attitudes and responses. 5.6. 2.3 Refreezing – stabilising the change. 5.7 Change management 5.8 The are many styles of managing change and reducing resistance to change, include; 5.8. 1 Education and communication) Resistance can be reduced through communicating with employees to help them see the logic of a change. This tactic basically assume that the source of resistance lies in misinformation of poor communication. If employees receive the full facts and get misunderstandings cleared up, resistance will subside.
However the management-employee relations have to be characterised by trust and credibility. If these conditions do not exist, the change is unlikely to succeed. The time and effort that this tactic involves must be considered against its advantages, particularly when the change affects a large number of people. 5.8. 2 Participation) It is difficult for individuals to resist achange decision in which they participated.
Prior to making a change, those opposed to it can be brought into the change process. Assuming thatthe participants have the expertise to make a meaningful contribution, their involvement can reduce resistance, obtain commitment, and increase the quality of the change decision. However, against these advantages are the potential for a poor solution and great time consumption. 5.8. 3 Facilitation and support) Change agents can offer a range of supportive efforts to reduce resistance. When employee fear and anxiety are high, employee counselling and therapy, new skills training, or a short paid leave of absence may facilitate adjustment. The drawback isth at as with the others, its is time consuming, .
It is also expensive an dits implementation offers no assurance of success. 5.8. 4 Negotiation) Another way for the change agent to deal with potential resistance to change is to exchange something of value for a lessening of the resistance. Example, the resistance is centred in a few powerful individuals, a specific reward package can be negotiated that will meet their needs. Negotiation as a tactic may be necessary when resistance comes from a powerful source.
Yet one cannot ignore its potentially high costs. There is also the risk that once a change agent negotiates to avoid resistance, he / she is open to the possibility of being blackmailed by other individuals in positions of power. 5.8. 5 Manipulation and co-optation) Manipulation refers to overt influence attempts. Twisting and distorting facts to make them appear more attractive, withholding undesirable information, or creating false rumours to get employees to accept a change are all examples of manipulation.
If management threatens to close down a particular manufacturing plant if that plant =’s employees fail to accept an across the board pay cut, and if the threat is equally untrue, management is using manipulation. Co-optation on the other hand, is a form of both manipulation and participation. It seeks to A buy [email protected] the leaders of resistance group by giving them a key role in the change decision. The leaders = advice is sought not to make a better decision, but to get their endorsement.
Both manipulation and co-optation are relatively inexpensive and easy ways to get the support of adversaries, but the tactics can backfire if the targets become aware that they are being tricked or used. Once discovered, the change agent =’s credibility may drop to zero. 5.8. 6 Coercion) The application of direct threats of force on the resisters. Examples of coercion, include pay cuts, threats of transfers, loss of promotions, negative performance evaluations or a poor letter of recommendation. The advantages and disadvantages are similar to those for manipulation and co-optation. 5.9 If resistance is extremely high, management may have to resort to both reducing resistance and increasing the attractiveness of the alternative if the unfreezing is to be successful.
CONCLUSION 6. Assuming that the change has been implemented, if it is to be successful, the new situation needs to be refrozen so that it can be sustained over time. Unless this step is taken, there is a high chance that the change will be short lived and employees will attempt to revert to the previous equilibrium state. The objective of refreezing then is to stabilise the new situation by balancing the driving and restraining forces.
and references 1. Weather Jr, William B & and Davis Keith (1985) Personnel Management And Human Resources, 2nd edition McGraw Hill International, Singapore.
2. Sherman, Arthur W Jr, Boh lander, George W. and Chruden, Herbert J. (1988) Managing Human Resources, 8th edition SouthWestern Publishing Co, USA.
3. Robbins, Stephen, P. Robbins (1989) Organisational behaviour (concepts, controversies and applications) 4th editionPrentice-Hall of India, India 4.
Stoner, A.F. James (1988) Management 4th editionPrentice Hall international, Inc.
USA. 5. Clark, Liz (1994) The essence of change Prentice Hall international, Inc.
UK. 6. Armstrong, Michael (1993) A Handbook of Management Techniques 2nd Edition Nichols Publishing Company, New Jersey.
7. Armstrong, Michael (1991) A Handbook of Personnel Practices 4th Edition Kogan Page Limited, USA.
8. Chruden, Herbert J and Sherman Jr, Arthur W. (1976) Personnel Management 5th Edition South Western Publishing Company, USA.
9. Dunphy, D. C (1981) Organisational Change by choice McGraw Hill Book Co, Sydney 10.
Lip pitt, G.L., Lange seth, P. and Mo ssop J (1986) Implementing Organisational Change Josey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, London 11.
Leigh, A. (1988) Effective Change: Twenty ways to make it happen Institute of Personnel Management, UK 318.