Type: Management
Pages: 9 | Words: 2433
Reading Time: 11 Minutes


This paper aims at proposing an in-depth study into resistance in an organization in relation to changes that may occur as planned or unplanned. On the basis of changes and the rationale for resistance, we offer a literal explanation of the past studies and expansive knowledge on the topic of research. Additionally, the discussed literature presents the current situation of resistance to organizational changes and views of other researchers. Leaders and management in organizations implement changes in the world. An in-depth analysis of this problem highlighted in the literature borrowed ideas from other books and scholarly articles documented by other authors, who studied this topic in the past. We intend to conduct research basing on sources and forces that lead to resistance. A questionnaire, methodology, theoretical types of changes, reasons, its scope, and aspects leading to resistance, will stand out and earn support by participants’ accurate feedbacks. Therefore, we have put down research questions that will help to collect quantitative data. Later, we conducted conduct a critical analysis to give solutions and explanations of the phenomenon of resistance.

Research Proposal Example

A failure to introduce changes in the past links to employee’s and people’s resistance to changes and management regulations. Many authors supported the notion of resistance because of being afraid and concerned of its outcome. When people view changes as a threat they take action fast by resisting any ideas that might affect it. These objections assume various forms, including aggressiveness, organized resistance, and passive and active forms. As much as people do not anticipate changes, measures need to be taken to ensure preparation to avoid delays in introducing changes (Ansoff, 1990). In an organization, employees always put the blame on the management for any change in regulations and policies because of difficulties they experience. Bridges assert this by trying to make experience sensible, which employees go through in the process of introducing changes.

According to (Thomas, 2008) the author related employee resistance to five distinct reasons. First, if the vision of the proposed change is not clear employees will not take any interest to embrace the project and the process tied to that change. Secondly, most employees believe, in their staying in their present comfort zones; hence, they fear change because of the uncertainty of what it may bring. As a result, many decide to stick to their old ways and, therefore, resist change entirely. Additionally, the past record of the organization’s failed projects and employees’ support impact strongly on their sensitivity to the change presented to them; therefore, the initiative to adopt it would meet strong resistance. Another reason lies in the increased amount of work and performance measurement due to the new technologies of change. Employees usually view the complex processes and expectations tied to new technologies of change as more workload and additional problems; hence many would oppose this only to ensure they stay in their comfort zones at work. Lastly, the introduction of change related to job insecurity as perceived by employees hence a majority of them opposed it to secure the need for their manpower and skills in the business environment.

Just as, resistance is inevitable, the need to focus on them consists on counteracting resistance to increase productivity and performance of an organization (Lawrence, 1954). Changes usually involve losses whereby the individuals have to alter their routines, and as a result, this interferes with their work lives. These effects tied to transition to changes in turn prompt negative response from the employees; therefore, resulting to resistance in an organisation. Strategies implemented when coping with organizational change present many challenges and not all succeed in the attempt to counter resistance, therefore, the best approach is to focus on a few strategies that eliminate resistance and enhance smooth operations of the organization(Ansoff, 1990).

Consequently, the resistance to changes is a key subject in dealing with management regulations and changes, as stated by Thomas (2008). Therefore, it is needless for a closer study of the same topic to reach quality transition in organization’s management. Historically, business resistance does not exist just as personal, but as experienced and displayed by groups of people, having the same understanding or objection to the management of changes and regulations. With recorded experiences in this field of management, resistance accounts to 30 documentations, according to Basler (1997). Resistance usually happens to be negative and has disadvantageous effects generated from person’s emotions: one aspect that is hardly controllable in managing resistance in organizations. On the other hand, detecting resistance is one of the major challenges that leaders of an organization face. It is never easy to predict the employees’ actions just from listening to their conversation and observing their behaviour. Some of the early detectable signs of resistance present in the form of failure to meet targets, ignored assignments, absenteeism and obvious errors arising from completed tasks.

However, keen attention to the responses made by employees can enable leaders of an organization spot the early signs of resistance. For example, some employees challenge change publicly, view need as a threat and see no need of incorporating change into the operations of an organization. Such instances directly define the outcome expected on introduction of change; powerful resistance (Thomas, 2008). The power of resistance succeeds depending on the number of employees backing it up and the positions each of them holds in that organization. Employees in the lower ranking positions might be less involved in resisting change because of fear of losing their jobs, employees; duration of employment, job type and the title they assume in the organization. Additionally, resistance to changes manifests as of ignorance to detail, arguments, criticism, lack of verbal support, opposition to team play, disregarded commitments, sabotage and sometimes failure to adopt  to new regulations enacted in the organization.

A small occurrence of resistance can intensify especially if the employees had experienced change before and nothing positive came out of it (Goldstein, 1988)). They would not easily believe in the new change being any different from the past situation and their increased resistance to change would drive at gaining more support from other employees of the organization to refuse the present completely. Despite the increased opposition to change, resistance can also be minimized through a defined organization culture. Management and reducing resistance to change, (Basler, 1997) deals a lot with issues on trust, transparency in communication, positive staff relationships and a highly cultivated team spirit in accomplishing the organizational goals.

Basing on the research questions in part A, this research focuses on understanding the concept of organizational changes, how participants perceive changes, their detailed attitude towards changes in respective organizations, reasons that led to changes in their responses, whether negative or positive, and recording their fears and a dilemma in relation to resisting changes in an organization.

The research questions listed above have an unbiased use to give qualitative feedback, to give participants a choice to express their views, feelings and a dilemma in displaying resistance to changes in respective organizations. Understanding their position towards organizational changes helps us to know real responses, sources and reasons for their resistance to changes in the organisation and ways to manage this problem. The analysis of these questions becomes the first step in formulating and implementing actions to counteract resistance to changes in an organization. The analysis looks at the problem from the participant’s point of view and works it as a process. The first step is the identification of the resistant behaviour through notable experiences and observations, then the in-depth discussion of what participants face in their organizations. Respondents’ feedbacks on their dilemmas and analysis of other colleagues’ reactions to the same in the scope of the collected response on their feeling and fears.

Considering effects and the relationship between resistance and changes in an organization, this paper’s aims at discussing the concept of resistance to changes, researches done and possible areas that need future probing. This paper details other cases of changes to highlight the types of changes and resistance to them.

Methodology and Description of Analysis

This research concentrates on American companies that record more than seventy-five employees and have undergone changes in the last one-year period. Basing on the Native American population pattern, about 16.3% of their population has an organisation in the United States. Random sampling will be a criterion for the unbiased acquisition of a sample of respondents intended for this research. We chose this criterion, because of flexibility in generalizing and researching a bigger population. We will extract a sample group of about 1500 people from varied organisations to fill in the prepared questionnaires. We intend to reach all of them using the fastest channel possible, which includes telegraphic and electronic means of communication.

The questionnaires will undergo thorough testing via standardized research question method criteria and approve as a reliable tool through interviews conducted with a separate sample of organisation heads and experts. The research questions will not focus on dividing respondents according to their ranks, but through random sampling in every organization from the highest rank of managers to the subordinate staff in each organization. Taking into consideration the companies’ history, majority of them engaged in the technical sector account for the 30% turnover in revenues, in the United States. A half of organisations accounts for only less than 200 employees while the rest have a wide employment base of over 500 employees. In an effort to capture all types of changes occurring in an organization, their questions will mainly point to changes with different subsections outlining types of changes that individual companies have evidently undergone.

To formulate a hypothesis, “questionnaires” have specifically designed questions to find out whether the documented sources of resistance are captured and observed in the real organizational setting. Questions, if well-answered, bring out a radical rate, at which changes have taken place in an organization. Additionally, a gradual bit has expanded over the years at the same pace with the occurrence of changes.

The last stage of this research will be to link up the role of the system, that is, organisations in question, in relation to managing employees’ reactions to changes. One of the striking tools of analyzing resistance and adaptability to changes will be communication. It is a core driving force when working with employees, who have experienced changes, while changing a situation for the improvement of an organisation and adapting to changes during the transitional period. The qualitative analysis of driving forces versus restraining forces bases on the information on the conduct and language used by employees when resisting to changes.

The explanation of the analysis bases on two things: one of them is exploring thoughts of respondents through answers given. The comparison of the future situations and outlining of the past, analyzing similarities and differences. The need for formulating new ways and using experiences to implement new strategies assists in explaining the direction of an organization’s growth.

Secondly, the analysis will strive to explain a lot of aspects, including ambiguous answers, vague information, contradictions in answers, negative statements, redundancy levels, the detachment from existing problems and the fixation on resistance as a subject topic of this research.

Ethical Issues to Consider When Using This Questionnaire as a Research Method

Using questionnaires as a method of collecting data from participants has prompted the need to consider their rights, privacy and interests, because they are extremely crucial. Protecting participants and caring about their well-being before, during and after the research shows how reliable we can be as researchers. In this research, a sample group of individuals does not forcefully have to answer any questions that they do not wish to, and an anonymous approach will also be applied; no names will appear as a requirement on papers. We considered maintaining the participants’ confidentiality through numbering questionnaires instead of using their personal names. Notably in questions drafted in each questionnaire, the option of neutrality exists, when they either respond positively or deny a question in order to ensure the omission of inaccurate information. Another ethical consideration, which we have put in place, involves clearly worded questions and the clarity the questionnaire and the use of information.


Changes are unavoidable, and there is no clear boundary between wrong and right, until one reacts in a noticeable way, and deemed to interfere with others in the working environment. Preparing for changes and counteracting resistance are only possible, if boundaries exist in resistance. The key aspect of successful change management is to consider that resistance must occur whenever changes take place. A responsive action of resistance to changes clearly explains an aspect that deters growth and development in an organization, and similarities between situational causes and behavioural forces driving resistance to changes.

The studies documented in literature highlight sources of resistance. This paper documents these sources using Rumelt’s systematic grouping of such sources and his research contribution to the same.

However, the investigation of the Native American population in organisations, in the United States of America, will support this research. Through a sample group chos at random, a questionnaire’s feedback will give us highlight sources of resistance to organizational changes, the effect they have on changes and on an organization, both negative and positive. Different situations of changes result in different reactive resistive responses that individual employees display, presenting the future question that still is to be researched; what a remedial step could the future leader take in dealing with sources of resistance? Another crucial aspect that may need probing in the future studies will be internal training of all organizations’ employees and management. This will help to reduce a communication gap and strengthen interpersonal relations that will help to deal with a situation during the occurrence of changes. There is also the need for leaders to show interest in views of their employees, justify the past unsuccessful change strategies and support the need for implementation of change again in the organization.

Academically, this paper will contribute to other studies done in the same field of management in this topic and provide an insight for new solutions and future gaps that need an extensive research. On the other hand, the business world will benefit from this research through new, highlighted sources and strategies to be implemented when dealing with changes. A clear recommendation that this research will propose will be a need to analyze internal systems of organizations. This will require preparation for any changes that might occur and the expected resistance on the part of employees. Managers and workers need to liaise together and build long-term working systems that will hold strong in the future, when the need for changes arises.

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