THE RESISTANCE TO CHANGE MAY NEVER BE OVERCOME COMPLETELY, BUT IT CAN BE REDUCED THROUGH INVOLVEMENT AND COMMUNICATION THROUGH THE CHALLENGE, DISCUSS

Posted by Emmanuel Mgina on 03:02 with No comments

According to Babyegeya (2002), Change in organization means development which connotes doing things better, achieving more, or being aware of environment problems and finding better solution to those problems.
 Changes are an inevitable aspect of life. It is the essence of any entity that has life or whose existence finds validity in the presence of life. Even ‘time’ would lose its significance in the absence of change. As change manifests itself in a variety of ways, it does not hold the same connotation across change, situations, and contexts. Times change, people change, things change, situations change, and do organizations.
Resistance to change is the action taken by individuals and groups when they perceive that a change that is occurring as a threat to them. Resistance may take many forms, including active or passive, overt or covert, individual or organized, aggressive or timid.
Resistance to change is the act of opposing or struggling with modifications or transformations that alter the status quo in the workplace.
Resistance to change is a natural reaction when employees are asked, well, to change. Change is uncomfortable and requires new ways of thinking and doing. People have trouble developing a vision of what life will look like on the other side of a change. So, they tend to cling to the known rather than embrace the unknown.
Resistance to change is best viewed as a normal reaction. Even the most cooperative, supportive employees may experience resistance. So, don't introduce change believing that you will experience nothing but resistance or that resistance will be severe. Instead, introduce change believing that your employees want to cooperate, make the best of each work situation, and that they will fully and enthusiastically support the changes as time goes by.
Manage Resistance to Change
Own the changes. No matter where the change originated - and change can show up at any point in your organization, even originating with you - you must own the change yourself. It's your responsibility to implement the change. You can only do that effectively, if you step back, take a deep breath, and plan how you will implement the change with the people you influence in your organization.
Readiness means both waiting to change and being able to change and is manifested in active initiation of changes or in cooperation with respect to organizational change” (Heinrich 2004:32)
Education and Communication: One of the best ways to overcome resistance to change is to educate people about the change effort beforehand. Up-front communication and education helps employees see the logic in the change effort. This reduces unfounded and incorrect rumors concerning the effects of change in the organization.
Participation and Involvement: When employees are involved in the change effort they are more likely to buy into change rather than resist it. This approach is likely to lower resistance more so than merely hoping people will acquiesce to change.
Facilitation and Support: Managers can head-off potential resistance by being supportive of employees during difficult times. Managerial support helps employees deal with fear and anxiety during a transition period. This approach is concerned with provision of special training, counseling, time off work.
Negotiation and Agreement: Managers can combat resistance by offering incentives to employees not to resist change. This can be done by allowing change resistors to veto elements of change that are threatening, or change resistors can be offered incentives to go elsewhere in the company in order to avoid having to experience the change effort. This approach will be appropriate where those resisting change are in a position of power.
Manipulation and Cooptation: “Cooptation” (no it’s not misspelled) involves the patronizing gesture of bringing a person into a change management planning group for the sake of appearances rather than their substantive contribution. This often involves selecting leaders of the resisters to participate in the change effort. These leaders can be given a symbolic role in decision making without threatening the change effort, Singh (2005:63).
Explicit and Implicit Coercion: Managers can explicitly or implicitly force employees into accepting change by making clear that resisting change can lead to losing jobs, firing, or not promoting employees.
Help the employees identify what's in it for them to make the change. A good portion of the normal resistance to change disappears when employees are clear about the benefits the change brings to them as individuals. Benefits to the group, the department, and the organization should be stressed, too. But, nothing is more important to an individual employee than to know the positive impact on their own career or job.

                                    “Discuss each category briefly so that all team members

                                     Have a good understanding of what they are rating’’ 

                                           Palmer 2004; 91

Listen deeply and empathetically to the employees. You can expect that the employees will experience the same range of emotions, thoughts, agreement, and disagreement that you experienced when the change was introduced to you or when you participated in creating the change. Never minimize an employee's response to even the simplest change. You can't know or experience the impact from an individual employee's point of view. Maybe the change seems insignificant to many employees, but the change will seriously impact another employee's favorite task. Hearing the employees out and letting them express their point of view in a non-judgmental environment will reduce resistance to change.
“Maintain clear focus, embrace resistance, respecting who resist, staying calm to stay engaged and join with the resistance, that is working with the resistors to find a common vision and plan to understand their perspective and deal with their resistance” (Sharma 2007 :105)
Empower employees to contribute. Control of their own jobs is one of the five key factors in what employees want from work. So, too, this control aspect follows when you seek to minimize resistance to change. Give the employees control over any aspect of the change that they can manage. If you have communicated transparently, you have provided the direction, the rationale, the goals, and the parameters that have been set by your organization. Within that framework, your job is to empower the employees to make the change work. Practice effective delegation and set the critical path points at which you need feedback for the change effort - and get out of the way. (Russel 2006 :93)
Kotter and Schlesinger (1979) argued that organizational change often meets some form of human resistance and that individuals react to change in different ways. Thus, implementation of change requires the management to be aware of how human processes, like that of indulging in irrational ideas and emotions, influence individuals’ behavior towards change. They further suggested six major methods of reducing resistance to change.
Nielsen (1981) suggested the use a consensus – building approach to reduce resistance to change. The basic mechanism driving this approach builds on the premise that a 100 per cent agreement does not necessitate change. Change is usually driven by the consensus of the majority of those who may resist the change efforts. This may be archived in the following three steps.
·         Identify the groups and individuals whose support or non – opposition is important to the strategic plan.
·         Discussion with the key group and individuals should attempt to identify special interest goals or needs in terms of how they are related to a strategic plan.
·         Discuss, evaluate and negotiate the optimization of the institution’s central strategic objective while reasonably satisfying special interest goals or needs.
Ellis (cf. Corey, 1996) outlined a seven step intervention strategy to deal with the irrational beliefs so that individual resistance to organizational change may be reducing. These seven steps are:
1.      People need to fully accept that they are largely responsible for their own emotion and behavior;
2.      They need to acknowledge and accept that they possess the ability to significantly alter their own emotion and behavior;
3.      They need to recognize that their irrational beliefs are the origin of their emotional and 0behavioral disturbances;
4.      They need to aware of their frequently used irrational beliefs;
5.      They have will and courage to actively challenge these beliefs;
6.      They also need to accept that they would have to work hard to change to challenge and counteract their dysfunctional thought, and;
7.      They would need to be persistent in their efforts mentioned above and continually challenge their irrational thoughts and beliefs.
Maurer (1996b) identified some approaches the use of power, force of reason, ignoring and making deals, which are commonly used to handle the resistance to organizational change. In order to guard against such in ineffective ways, he suggested the following principles that aid successful but unconventional treatment of organizational resistance to: maintain clear focus, embrace resistance, respecting those who resist, staying calm to stay engaged and join with the resistance (that is, working with the resistors to find a common vision and plan to understand their perspectives and deal with their resistance.
Finally In an organization that has a culture of trust; transparent communication; involved, engaged employees; and positive interpersonal relationships, resistance to change is easy to see - and also much less likely to occur. Employees feel free to tell their boss what they think and to have open exchanges with managers. When a change is introduced in this environment, with a lot of discussion and employee involvement, resistance to change is minimized. Resistance is also minimized if there is a wide-spread belief that a change is needed.


  REFFERENCE
Babyegeya , E. N. K. (2002) Educational Planning and Administration, The Open University of
                        Tanzania, Dar es Salaam
Heinrich.T.(2004) Resistance to change, does age matter? Predicting negative attitude towards
                         Organizational change .Turnshare Ltd London
Palmer,B.(2004)  American society for quality ,Quality press USA
Sharma,R.R.(2008),Change management concept and application ,published by Tata Mc Graw-                                 
                               Hill Publishing Company Limited, 7west Patel Nagar, New Delhi
Singh, K (2005), Organization change and development, New Delhi India.
Russel, J et al (2006), Change basics. American Society