What are sources of resistance to change?

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  • Self Interest
    Changes may require a different skill set, affect power status, change relationships with others, social status or self-esteem, and there for be against the personal interest.


  • Uncertainty
    People may be concerned as to how the change will affect their job and lives, and humanly expect the worst.

  • Lack of trust
    The source of the change isn't respected or trusted. "What does he know about how we actually get things done here?". Especially if the change comes from outside the department.


  • Different perspectives
    The change may be viewed from an entirely different perspective, for instance the engineers view v.s. the accountants view. This can happen especially when not all the angles have been considered.


  • Inflexibility
    Some people are just intolerant to change. The are more vested in protecting the status qua no matter how clear the benefits of change would be.


Here are some countermeasures one can use to address these resistances to change


Self Interest Create a corporate culture where employees can feel confident they will be retained and valued for their skill set. If the department can't use the skill set anymore, the employee should feel confident that he can use his skills elsewhere in the company, or that he'll be helped to train new relevant skill sets.


Uncertainty Ensure sufficient information is communicated about the proposed change. Additional background information should be available. Option to ask questions should be available and always answered.
Give the organization sufficient time to get used to the idea, also communicating well upfront is helpful.


Lack of trust Change from within. Get a respectable colleague from the to be affected department(s) to join the project team. Collaborate to reach the proposed change, reach consensus. He or she can become an advocate for communicating the proposal to the affected department.


Different perspectives Ensure you have a well rounded team that can look from the different viewpoints. Include the to be affected departments in the discussion. Hear all the opinions upfront and include their feedback into the change. This provides a more well rounded idea.


Inflexibility Some people will always resist change. Having a trial period first can help ease them into this, also provides reassurance that if the change doesn't help, we can go back to the old situation. However, in the end, if the change is clearly beneficial, there may still be a few individuals that are unwilling to change along. This could be the deadwood of the organization that would be better suited to work elsewhere...
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