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Resistance to Change: Causes and Strategies as an Organizational Challenge

Authors:
Resistance to Change: Causes and Strategies as an Organizational
Challenge
Ahmad Hafizh Damawan
University of Muhammadiyah Malang
hafizh.surodirjo@gmail.com
Siti Azizah
Ruhr University Bochum
Siti.Azizah@ruhr-uni-bochum.de
Abstract: This literature review is structured to examine more closely what factors can cause resistance to change and
what strategies can overcome resistance to change, through the research results of several journals that have been
collected. There are twenty international journals sourced from several websites such as EBSCOhost, emerald insight,
google scholar, and so forth. The results of the discussion revealed that there are individual factors such as little
motivation and situational factors such as increased job security; Besides, there are seven strategies to overcome
resistance to change, such as increasing participation.
Keywords: change, resistance to change
Introduction
In this modern era, everything will change because
change is everywhere, including in an organization.
Changes are made so that the organization remains
dynamic, while at the same time to improve
organizational progress and employee’s performance,
adapt to the environment, and change behavior patterns
in the workplace (Leana & Barry, 2000). This confirms
that organizations that make changes are organizations
that want to survive. Change is defined as a process
that changes the direction of history or development
and can influence the system or functionality of an
organization (Abraham, 2000). However, not all
planned changes can be successful and can be accepted
by all employees. In fact, the rate of failure of
organizational change turns out to be up to 70%
(Balogun & Hailey, 2004). It explains that success in
change depends on how employees respond to these
changes because, in essence, each employee must have
a different perspective with other employees in
responding to a change (Lines, 2005). Not all
employees react positively to change; some even react
negatively, and one of the employees' negative
attitudes to change is called resistance to change
(Piderit, 2000).
Resistance to change can be interpreted as an
attitude or behavior of an individual who can frustrate
the purpose of change goals (Chawla & Kelloway,
2004). Employee adverse reactions to changes will
have enormous consequences; this is because they will
inhibit the success of the planned changes (Fugate et
al., 2012). The facts show that one of the factors that
cause the failure of organizational change is employees
who resistance to change (Regar et al., 1994). From the
previous explanation about resistance to change which
is a negative reaction of employees in inhibiting
change, and by considering that the importance of
change in an organization, then there is no doubt that
resistance to change is the main topic to help the
organization, especially for managers and human
resource division to achieve the advantage of effective
transformation.
Literature Review
In the 1940s, someone who initiated the resistance
to change emerged and discussed it for the first time.
He was Kurt Lewin, who, at the beginning of his
thinking, was focused on handling aspects of employee
behavior so that organizational change could work
effectively (Kurt, 1945). After that, the first research
that was inspired by the concept of resistance to change
entitled "Overcoming Resistance to Change" in a study
conducted by Coch and French (1948) in Virginia. One
important finding that Coch and French have
examined, and to date has been useful in overcoming
problems in an organization, is that participation is the
most effective method of overcoming resistance to
change (Coch & French, 1948).
Generally, resistance is an individual reaction that
arises from opposition to change (Folger & Skarlicki,
1999). Meanwhile, Oreg (2003) in his research, states
that resistance to change is an individual characteristic
that shows a negative attitude to change, and there is a
tendency to avoid and even fight against it. Employees
who have resistance to change must have specific goals
and objectives for management; therefore, resistance to
change is an essential factor for consideration of
organizational change programs. Forms of resistance
carried out by employees, include: boycotting, reduced
interest, blocking, opposing views, strikes, to negative
perceptions and attitudes (Coetsee, 1999).
So many forms of adverse reactions that arise by
individuals related to the scope of resistance to change,
making understanding of the responses that are raised
are still too broad. To that end, in understanding the
logic of resistance to change that occurs in an
organization, Davis (1977) divides resistance to change
into two types, namely: first, resistance to change
based on logical analysis shows that the costs required
for the change program are greater than the benefits of
Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 395
5th ASEAN Conference on Psychology, Counselling, and Humanities (ACPCH 2019)
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Atlantis Press SARL.
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the change, and second, resistance to change based on
selfish hopes and emotions that do not care about the
benefits of change widely or for others and therefore
become less necessary for an organization. On the
other hand, Piderit (2000) classifies resistance to
change into three parts, including: first, emotional
(frustration and aggression, which can influence
attitudes), second, behavior (commission, intentional,
inaction), and third, cognitive (unwillingness and
negative thoughts about change).
With the resistance to change that occurs in an
organization, it will bring a negative impact on the
sustainability of the organization's growth, because
resistance to change is a negative reaction of
employees that inhibit change. The negative effects of
resistance to change in an organization include
reducing job satisfaction (Wanberg & Banas, 2002;
Burke et al., 2009), reducing perceived organizational
effectiveness (Jones & Ven, 2016), and minimizing
creative performance (Hon et al., 2011). In addition, as
a result of employee resistance to change turned out to
be referred to as one of the main obstacles to
organizational change initiatives (Lippert & Davis,
2006), and cause negative impacts such as reducing
employee motivation (Ude & Diala, 2015), less than
optimal results of failure change programs (Giangreco
& Peccei, 2005), reducing employees' adaptability to
work and causing organizational setbacks (Greenhalgh,
1983), and ultimately increasing turnover (Oreg, 2006).
On the other hand, not all consequences of resistance to
change have a negative impact, but there are also
positive effects. Piderit (2000) has found that resistance
to change is also able to provide a useful source of
information for learning how to develop a more
successful change process.
Discussion
Twenty journals and several research results on
resistance to change have been collected. This review
aims to explain the understanding of the factors that
cause resistance to change, and the discussion will be
explained in each report. For convenience, the factors
that influence resistance to change will be categorized
into two, namely individual factors and situational
factors.
Individual factors that cause resistance to change,
first starting from lack of confidence (Kanter, 1985). It
is because employees do not have confidence in
themselves, whether they are confident that change will
have a positive effect on him and the organization.
Second is low self-stability (Steptoe et al., 1993). The
low self-stability makes employees unable to
consciously control themselves, resulting in behaviors
that harm others and the organization, one of which is
resistance to change. The third is increased stress (Dent
& Goldberg, 1999). It is basically due to organizational
changes that will bring pressure on employees.
Besides, resistance to change is not only for the
organization but also for its consequences, for example,
losing comfort, salary, or status. Therefore, increasing
stress will tend to affect employees in accepting
changes in an organization negatively. The fourth is
uncertain feelings (Ashford et al., 1989). This uncertain
feeling refers to the lack of information about the
change to be carried out so that it causes employees to
worry about the demands of the change itself, which
results in rejection of the change. The fifth is the lack
of need for achievement (Mabin et al., 2001).
Employees who do not need achievement will work
improperly or are not oriented to make their abilities
increase so that employees will tend to resist change
because they feel the change will improve their
performance and that is not their need.
Still on the same factor, the sixth is a weak
disposition towards change (Amarantou et al., 2016).
This is because basically, employees do have a
problematic nature to accept a novelty, one of which is
change because disposition is innate from birth.
Seventh is little motivation (Hultman, 1998).
Employees with low encouragement to meet their
needs will also receive a profound organizational
change. By understanding motivation, it will be able to
understand why employees reject the change. The
eighth is a fear of failure (Kuyatt, 2011). This fear is
already present in pessimistic employees because this
feared failure is oriented toward personal consequences
if the change fails. Ninth is low self-efficacy and
autonomy job (Jaramillo et al., 2012). The low self-
efficacy refers to experiences that are oriented to
change cannot be applied directly; in other words,
employees who have low self-efficacy will not be
maximized if included in the implementation of the
change. And employees with low autonomy jobs will
have difficulty in planning and determining the
methods used to carry out work, including change
programs. The tenth is too little affective commitment
(Mckay et al., 2013). Employees with low commitment
mean not having psychological attachment and work
orientation for an extended period. Moreover,
employees with low affective commitments lack the
conformity they believe in and do not have the
voluntary attitude to remain in the organization, in
other words, employees do not care about the future of
the organization and tend to resist changes, so they do
not accept new demands to make work to be
maximized.
Whereas situational factors that cause resistance to
change include, first, high information ambiguity
(Greenhalgh, 1983). The high level of uncertainty in
information makes it difficult for employees to accept
information that is not certain in the truth. This causes
employees to trust the issues that exist within the
organization so that employees find it difficult to
believe information about organizational change
programs that lead to resistance to change. Second, the
lack of participation in change (Coch & French, 1948;
Lines, 2004). The low participation in these changes
will make employees feel unnecessary in the
organization because the lack of participation and
suddenly asked by managers to make changes will
Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 395
50
make employees confused and tend to reject changes.
Third, low work comfort (Dent & Goldberg, 1999).
Employees will work under pressure if the comfort in
the workplace is low; this makes it difficult for
employees to accept changes because they do not work
in good conditions. Fourth, high cynicism and
organizational silence (Reichers et al., 1997; Morrison
& Milliken, 2000). The increased cynicism makes the
work environment uncomfortable, because this
cynicism will affect other employees who have been
positively oriented to accept change. Besides, the
presence of organizational silence will make
concealment and diversion of information, so
employees tend to resist change because they do not
know the problems facing the organization. This is due
to the existence of norms that employees have so that it
prevents them from stating what questions they see
because they are forced to be silent on specific
problems. Fifth, the lack of employee support (Kanter,
1985). This low level of support occurs because
employees are lack work integrity, so they work merely
to meet their needs without supporting the needs of the
organization. It causes the organizational change
program will not run if it is not accompanied by
employee support, because they are the most members
of the organization.
Still on the same factor, the sixth factor is poor
organizational culture (Leigh, 2002). Poor culture in an
organization makes employees will also be accustomed
to working with a poor orientation as well, so to run an
organizational change program must first change the
organizational culture to be better. The seventh factor
is increasing job insecurity (Swanson & Holton, 2001).
Employees with high levels of job insecurity will
potentially resist change; this is caused by the concern
that employees feel about job loss or insecurity about
the future of their work that raises resistance to change.
The eighth factor is the lack of information adequacy
(Stanley et al., 2005; Oreg, 2006). Lack of
understanding of information, especially about
changes, can also be caused by a lack of employees'
ability to interpret information. In other words,
resistance to change occurs because employees are not
sufficiently comprehensive in receiving information.
The ninth factor is the lack of communication
adequacy (Mckay et al., 2013). The low level of
communication adequacy is the same as the low level
of information adequacy. Rejection of change occurs
because, within the organization, managers are not able
to apply open communication to all employees. Finally,
decreased organizational support and organizational
justice (Jones & Ven, 2016). It can be caused by
conflicts between leaders and employees; in other
words, if there are problems within the working
relationship between managers and employees,
resistance to change will occur. Besides, when
managers are unfair to all employees, employees with
less fair treatment will tend to resist change than
employees with appropriate treatment.
In general, the dangers of adverse employee
reactions that can inhibit changes in an organization, it
is necessary to discuss how to overcome resistance to
change. There are seven strategies to overcome
resistance to change. The first is introducing the
changes slowly. It allows all employees to be involved
with the time of change, to find information, determine
whether further training is needed to accept it, to adjust
to change (White, 1998). The second is participation;
participation is the most effective solution to overcome
or reduce resistance to change (Griffin, 1993). It
explains that all employees who are concerned with
change can help or take an active part in the
implementation or planning of change (Schermerhorn,
1999). Although this strategy can take a lot of time, the
success rate in this strategy is quite high. The third
strategy is psychological ownership which refers to feel
attached to an organization (Dirks et al., 1996). There
are three basic needs of self which are strong
supporters of behavior and attitudes, among others:
self-continuity, self-improvement, and control and
efficacy. These three basic needs will affect how
employees resist change, but will also depend on what
type of change the organization has planned and
whether the change is considered attractive or not by
the employee. The fourth strategies are facilitation and
education. Educating employees about the importance
of the potential benefits of significant change, it can
reduce resistance to change (Griffin, 1993). Some
facilitation procedures must be sufficiently available
for planning changes. For example, human resource
division or change initiating agents must notify that
any changes that are carried out before the real
implementation will occur and sufficient time is given
by employees to adjust to doing something related to
the change program in various ways, even new ways
that are not yet controlled by employees (Griffin,
1993).
The fifth strategy is the development of trust, with a
strategy of minimizing misunderstandings and
uncertainties that will ensure that all employees
involved during the change process will receive the
same information. Clarification during the change
process will provide an opportunity for all members to
seek their understanding of what problems they may
face or have (Griffin, 1993; White, 1998). The sixth
strategy is additional support. This support can
facilitate change by reducing fear and anxiety in the
change program itself. For example, active in
understanding the problem and listening to all
suggestions are forms of additional support
(Schermerhorn, 1999). Also, training and the addition
of employees during the training period, to minimize
the workload during the change process, were
considered good enough to reduce resistance to change
(White, 1998). The seventh strategy is changing agents.
The latter strategy can be used to reduce resistance to
change when the initiator of change is deemed to be
less than optimal and needs to be changed both
programmatically and even in his position. Having
Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 395
51
people with objective thinking from outside the
organization is responsible for helping to introduce
organizational change (White, 1998). The initiating
agent for change begins with assessing the situation
before implementing the change. However, the
employee's initial involvement with the agent who will
be affected by the change is significant for his success
in this strategy.
Conclusion
From the previous discussion, it can be concluded
that the factors that cause resistance to change have
been categorized into individual factors and situational
factors. In addition to improving organizational quality
through change, seven strategies have been identified
to overcome resistance to change. Suggestions for
further researchers is to conduct a meta-analysis in
research on resistance to change.
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... Some studies have focused on the behavioural resistance to change (Bovey and Hede, 2001;Fiedler, 2010;Langstrand and Elg, 2012;Lines et al., 2015, Macrì et al., 2002van Marrewijk, 2018). Whereas very few studies have actually looked at the factors influencing resistance to change in the workplace (Amarantou et al., 2016;2018;Damawan and Azizah, 2020;Khan, Raza and Mujtaba, 2016;Ybema, Thomas and Hardy, 2016). Table 1 is a summary of literature on the variables responsible for resistance to change behaviour. ...
... The initial familiarisation made the actual survey easier because the respondents were already aware of what was expected of them. Aghimien et al., 2019b;Fauzi et al., 2018;Sarhan et al., 2018 End-user/client perception and preference Amarantou et al., 2016;Khan and ur Rehman, 2008 Perception that it is bad business Khourshed, 2011 Lingering resentment Damawan and Azizah, 2020;Davies and Davies, 2017;Khourshed, 2011 Lack of confidence Damawan and Azizah, 2020;Khourshed, 2011 Loss of face and reputation Ametepey et al., 2015;Angonese and Lavarda, 2014;Djokoto et al., 2014;Fauzi et al., 2018 Insufficient stakeholder drive Damawan and Azizah, 2020;Khan and ur Rehman, 2008;Macrì et al., 2002 The fear of potential embarrassment Macrì et al., 2002;Ybema et al., 2016 Threats to existing balance of power, Amarantou et al., 2018;Djokoto et al., 2014;Macrì et al., 2002;Susanti et al., 2019 Intergroup conflicts that inhibit cooperation Angonese and Lavarda, 2014 ...
... The initial familiarisation made the actual survey easier because the respondents were already aware of what was expected of them. Aghimien et al., 2019b;Fauzi et al., 2018;Sarhan et al., 2018 End-user/client perception and preference Amarantou et al., 2016;Khan and ur Rehman, 2008 Perception that it is bad business Khourshed, 2011 Lingering resentment Damawan and Azizah, 2020;Davies and Davies, 2017;Khourshed, 2011 Lack of confidence Damawan and Azizah, 2020;Khourshed, 2011 Loss of face and reputation Ametepey et al., 2015;Angonese and Lavarda, 2014;Djokoto et al., 2014;Fauzi et al., 2018 Insufficient stakeholder drive Damawan and Azizah, 2020;Khan and ur Rehman, 2008;Macrì et al., 2002 The fear of potential embarrassment Macrì et al., 2002;Ybema et al., 2016 Threats to existing balance of power, Amarantou et al., 2018;Djokoto et al., 2014;Macrì et al., 2002;Susanti et al., 2019 Intergroup conflicts that inhibit cooperation Angonese and Lavarda, 2014 ...
... "Communication", "participation", and "Peer Support" then came tied at fifth effective mitigating strategy, leaving "Incentives" as the strategy that curbs least types of resistance factors. Armenakis and Bedeian (1999), Damawan and Azizah (2020), Dunican and Keaster (2015), Green (2017) (2008) The results of the ranking highlight training as the most effective mitigating strategy that curbs most types of resistance to technological change; supporting the assertion by prior researchers that training is amongst the most effective techniques to overcoming resistance to change (Al-Gahtani and King 1999; Erdogan et al. 2008;Henderson and Ruikar 2010;Venkatesh and Bala 2008). Talukder (Talukder 2012) encourages organizations to establish training programs that motivate individuals to adopt innovation. ...
... This notwithstanding, when individuals perceive the benefits of a change to outweigh the benefits of their environment, they become open to change (Armenakis and Bedeian 1999;Rogers 2003;Sediqi 2018). Thus, educating individuals of the benefits of change, be it a proposed or already implemented change, can overcome their resistance (Damawan and Azizah 2020;Green 2017;Henderson and Ruikar 2010). By educating individuals about the benefits of technology, their perceived usefulness of the technology significantly increases along with their motivation to use the new technology. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
People’s resistance to change has been identified as one of the critical challenges that inhibit the promotion and implementation of new technologies in the construction industry. Researchers have propounded various strategies to mitigate people’s resistance to technological change. However, most of these assertions are based on the researchers’ opinions which should be supported by qualitative evidence. Accordingly, this research adopted a Delphi Survey to solicit the views of a purposively sampled 7member expert panel assessing the effectiveness of resistance-mitigating strategies. The results highlighted “Training” as the most effective mitigating strategy, followed consecutively by “organisational support”, “enhancing system design”, “education”, “communication”, “participation”, “peer support”, and “incentivisation”. Notwithstanding this ranking, the research identified that no single mitigating strategy is optimal for completely curbing resistance. Therefore, this research also provided a framework for selecting the appropriate mitigating strategies according to different resistance scenarios. The findings of this study can better equip stakeholders of the construction industry in handling resistance to technological change.
... The causes of this resistance vary considerably and can be grouped into individual and social factors. The literature describes individual factors that include a lack of trust, low personal stability, the stress caused by the change, the feeling of uncertainty, and the perception that the change is unnecessary [36]. Other cited factors include the strength of habits, selective information processing, economic factors, skepticism regarding the need to change, and the fear of the unknown due to the change [36,37]. ...
... The literature describes individual factors that include a lack of trust, low personal stability, the stress caused by the change, the feeling of uncertainty, and the perception that the change is unnecessary [36]. Other cited factors include the strength of habits, selective information processing, economic factors, skepticism regarding the need to change, and the fear of the unknown due to the change [36,37]. Commonly cited social factors are group inertia and the potential threats to existing relationships [31]. ...
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Both the academic literature and global organizations have emphasized the need for responsible water consumption, as stated in Sustainable Development Goal 12. However, individuals’ water-saving behaviors in their current state are not enough. This situation entails a resistance to change (RC) in consumer habits and a lack of perceived risk of scarcity. The novelty of this study lies in examining the influence of RC (through its emotional, cognitive, and confidence components) and perceived risk on water-saving intention. Interviews (n = 384) were conducted in the southeast Mediterranean area of Spain by interviewers using a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. The results of the structural equation modeling show that the perceived risk and the components of cognitive rigidity and negative emotions exert a direct influence on water-saving habits and an indirect influence on water-saving intention. None of the components of RC directly influence intention, and a lack of confidence in the outcomes of water saving does not influence water-saving habits or water-saving intention. In addition to the results obtained, the novelty of the work lies in the idea that in order to influence the perception of the risk of water scarcity through awareness campaigns, it is better to use an emotional message rather than showing facts or information because this does not drive water-saving behavior.
... In contrast, the amount of analysis devoted to the challenges and barriers associated with OERs is less than five percent (incidentally, the same is true for the topics of incentives and motivation for engaging with OERs). Because OER implementation is a typical change process in which -as with all change processes -resistance is to be expected [8], it is necessary to investigate the current challenges and barriers associated with OERs further than this. Therefore, the following chapter is dedicated to this topic. ...
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This paper argues that support services are an essential contribution to the further establishment of Open Educational Resources (OERs) at universities. After illustrating why promotion alone is note nough to convince university teachers to use OERs, the current challenges and barriers to the use, creation, and delivery of OERs are described. Based on this, numerous support services that universities can provide to users and creators of OERs at different institutional levels are presented. Subsequently, two examples from Austria are used to show how support measures can be implemented in concrete ways and what positive impact they have on establishing OERs. Keywords: OER, Open Educational Resources, open education, third mission, accessibility, policy,lifelong learning
... Синякова [10], І.М. Тесленок [11], B. Cvetanovski [12], A. Darmawan [13], B. Gregg [12], E. Hazan [12], O. Jojart [12], J. Perrey [12] та інші. ...
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... Each environment and the nature of resistance may require different approaches. Still, consideration of strategies such as the ones identified by Damawan and Azizah (2020) may be useful to overcome resistance to change. Furthermore, in Section 5.4.3 the role of stakeholders, the possible challenges of integrating IK and modern education, and the possible means of dealing with the resistance from some of the stakeholders are discussed. ...
Thesis
Humanity is facing environmental, social, and economic challenges, including climate change, inequality, and poverty. Different initiatives, such as the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and the Paris Agreement are introduced to deal with these challenges. Furthermore, several researchers conducted studies to identify sustainability competencies (SCs), i.e., integrated knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to contribute to a more sustainable future. These studies are typically conducted based on Western worldviews. As a result, the existing SC frameworks are not comprehensive enough to include non-Western worldviews, contexts, and related indigenous knowledge (IK). This dissertation argues that sustainability challenges are complex, and that the collaboration of several stakeholders and the use of diverse worldviews are required to address them. For sustainability challenges to be effectively addressed at the global level, integrating non-Western perspectives in the development of SCs is essential. The 2021 UNESCO report ‘Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education’ strongly advocates the inclusion of IK in education worldwide. The dissertation articulated the SCs that are specifically needed in this respect and assessed teaching methods by which they can be developed in higher education. The studies in this dissertation focused on identifying competencies that facilitate efforts toward a more sustainable future and exploring different means of fostering these competencies. Accordingly, the first study identified SCs for the Ethiopian context, as a country with different socioeconomic characteristics than Western contexts. The other studies focus on fostering SCs of higher education students, future sustainability change agents. These studies explored the potential contributions of using IK with modern education in Ethiopia. The studies also proposed education design principles of integrating IK with modern higher education systems. One of the studies on enhancing SCs explored the contributions of multiple learning approaches in a real-world environment to fostering the systems thinking competence of learners. The findings of this dissertation contribute to theoretical discourses on sustainable development, competence, SCs, education for sustainable development, the constructivist learning literature, and IK. The findings also have societal implications related to the SDGs, education and training in sustainable development, the role of stakeholders, including policymakers, teachers, and students. Keywords: sustainable development; sustainability; indigenous knowledge; education for sustainable development; sustainability competencies; education for sustainability; ESD; competencies; Ethiopia; base of the pyramid; sustainability competence; corporate social responsibility; systems thinking; mobile learning; real-world learning; field trips; learning approaches; education design principles; Delphi; exploratory experimental design; focus group.
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