Resistance to Change LO24651

From: Roy Benford (
Date: 05/22/00

Replying to LO24640 --


>I don't want to sound like a broken record, but so many posts state that
>people resist change, that resistance is natural -- that I have to speak
>up again. This thesis is so taken for granted that it is rarely, if ever
>challenged. I challenge it.

It is good to see somebody challenging the assumption that resistance to
change is normal. If we start to assume that resistance to change is
normal, are we not in danger of falling into the defensive practices
outlined by Chris Argyris in his Model 1 Theory in Use?

>People do not resist change. People act consistently with their beliefs.
>They think what they do is appropriate, natural, "right." If you want
>them to do something inconsistent with their beliefs, they experience what
>you want them to do as inappropriate, unnatural, and "wrong." People
>don't resist change as such, they resist doing what they think is wrong.

However, some people do resist change and it could be on the simple basis
of "Why should I?". And, then it may not be a basis of rational argument.
It could be as simple a question of control, a repeat of the temper
tantrums of a two year old child. Personally, I would not label a child's
temper tantrum as "resisting doing what they think is wrong".

Then, of course, the resistance could be based upon a rational model of
the environment which highlights risks overlooked in the model driving the
change. This would suggest a route via open inquiry of models resulting
establishing the best model to base the change upon. But then that might
be pushing the bounds of rationality too far.

For me, this raises one of the most difficult issues to resolve when
trying to change something. When there is resistance to change, is it
caused by rational or irrational fears?

Roy Benford
Fulmer, UK


"Roy Benford" <>

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