Resistance to Change LO24455

Date: 04/25/00

Replying to LO24386 and others

Michael Orth asked
> 1) how do we measure success of change efforts
> 2) what stage of change causes the most resistance
> 3) how do people react to change, what are specific behaviors
> related to resisting and supporting change
> 4) what methodology would work to study resistance/support

I did my Master's Thesis on resistance to change in organizations, and
more specifically, a systems approach to understanding and dealing with
it. In the thesis I looked at one model of change, and proposed another
model which (a) expanded the potential of the first model, and more
importantly (b) offered a systemic rather than a linear view. This all
draws heavily on the experience I and my co-workers have had in our lives,
of course.

Briefly trying to address parts of the questions above, the model
suggests that resistance to organizational change is influenced
(caused?) from several directions including
+ The challenge of the vision (i.e., the sense of destination)
+ The clarity of the pathway (i.e. how we will get there)
+ The degree of autonomy (i.e., the changing vs being changed
+ The congruence with personal values (i.e., how we propose
 to behave), and
+ The belief that we can actually achieve the change (i.e., the
absence of corrosive cynicism).

The systemic aspect of the model points out that the actual resistance to
change is dynamic and will vary from person to person, from change
initiative to change initiative, and even from day to day. And all the
combinations of those, as well.

And the model also hints at a technique that a leader can use to diagnose
the source of the resistance for any given person + change +
point-in-time. Namely, actually listen to what people are saying (or more
problematically, what people used to say but aren't saying anymore). For
example, if someone says, 'You know, this just doesn't feel like the right
thing to do' the resistance seems to be more related to values than to the
vision. On the other hand, if someone says, 'Fad of the month -- I don't
know where we're going now!" the resistance seems more related to the
vision or sense of destination.

Michael A
 - Michael Ayers
Voice (651) 733-5690
FAX (651) 737-7718
IT CC&PD 3M Center 224-2NE-02 PO Box 33224 St. Paul MN 55133-3224
** Sometimes the right question is, 'Are we asking the right question?' **


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