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Security to change
Managing Resistance to Change

Article by S.Suyampirakasam- Visiting Faculty, INC Madurai

01. Sometime back this author had written an article titled “Are your employees leaving the
organizations in disgust? Apply Change Management practices”. While discussing about the
various aspects of Change Management concepts, it is informed that the employees, for obvious
reasons, generally dislike changes brought in by the management, as they do not like to come out
of the existing practices.

This article makes an attempt to demystify the resistance to changes by the employees, besides
explaining why they develop such resistance to changes .It is also discussed that how this issue
can be resolved and how to make use of their resistance to maximize the working results of the
organization, while proceeding with the change efforts.

02. Psychological factors for the resistance to changeFactors
The following chart elucidates the factors that are responsible for the resistance to change on the
part of employees.

Fear of unknown Selective Information processing

03. Reactions to Change.

The resistance to change is purely a psychological concern only. They are concerned with their
safety. They do apprehend whether they would be protected and free from harm during the
period when changes are implemented. The situations caused by changes will trigger the
psychological responses such as safety and security. Some of these responses may be positive
and some others may be negative. For example, if people with decision-making powers were
taken out, on account of change efforts, it would cause a negative result. On the other hand if
they are told clearly about these early and given clear options to chose from, they would be more
positive about the change.

In the same way, people who are accustomed to a particular style of working will find it very
difficult to change their way of working and they do resist such changes.

Change causes people to question whether they would continue to have the same level of power
and control; even after the change measures are introduced.

Employees are concerned whether the changes would cause a deceleration in their income level
and apprehend whether such decisions would be fair enough to them or based on whim or

Again, employees apprehend whether they would continue to be recognized and cared even after
the changes are introduced or would be treated poorly.

Hence the resistance to change is displayed by the employees on account of factors such as
Safety and Security, habits, fear of loosing control, economic factors and finally their
apprehension about loosing importance and recognition in their organization.

04. The Change Process.

Now, let us discuss how the resistance for change can be removed. In fact the change leaders
must attend to People’s core psychological issues by adopting the following measures. It
involves taking people through four phases of change, as under.

a. Awareness –: Tell the employees why these changes are contemplated and what is the
result anticipated.

b. Understanding: - In what way the changes contemplated would affect the job, role and
. responsibilities of the employees

c. Acceptance- : What type of support and training the employees would get, consequent
to the changes contemplated.

d. Commitment- : Involvement to increase both bottom line and top line of the business

Measures to Manage resistance to Changes
Goals of and
the organization
Facilitation and Support
Above all, change leaders should rememberNegotiation
oneMild Force
important point that the resistance to change
is mainly on account of ego of the employees concerned. If the changes contemplated are
discussed with the employees sufficiently early and all their clarifications are properly explained,
then the problem of resistance can be avoided.

Alternatively, the employees should be prepared for a change through the following.

Vision, Communication, Organization Goal, Training and Support

05. Change Strategy and Plan to manage the resistance to Change measures.

The following are the Change Strategies to mitigate the psychological concerns and thereby to
manage the resistance.

06. How do people react to Change-a live Case study?

The author of this article had an occasion to introduce change measures, while he was working
as an executive in a bank. The Corporation of the local city is one of our valued customers and
our bank has an extension counter at their premises for their convenience. The working hours
also was fixed taking in to account their way of functioning that is from 11.00 AM to 6.00 P.M.
The business hours during which they can transact business is 11.00 A.M to 3.00 P.M.

During the second week of every month, there would be heavy inflow of cash and generally the

quantum cash would range in the order of Rs 75 Lacs and the employees were cooperating even
by working beyond the stipulated hours.

It so happened that in one month, there were three consecutive holidays and on the day of
reopening, there was heavy collections and Cashiers of Corporation came to the Bank for
remitting cash at 4.30 PM only. The employees on that day refused to accept the Cash, on the
plea that time was over. The undersigned somehow managed the situation and decided that some
thing should be done to correct this situation because the Cashiers of the Corporation can come
on busy days after 4.00 P.M only and taking in to account the quantum of business we get, the
working hours are to be changed to their convenience.

Next day, with the concurrence of the higher authorities, the business hours were changed from
11.00 AM to 3.30 PM to 12.30 PM to 4.30 PM and office hours up to 7.30 P.M.The employees
were advised accordingly.
There were resistances from the employees for the change of working hours and union leaders
also started shouting.

The author called for a meeting of all employees and the union leaders and informed
categorically that the bank cannot afford to lose the account of the Corporation and the other
banks are ready to serve them. Since the extension counter is put up at their premises for their
convenience, it would not be fair to insist them to have their functions according to bank’s
convenience. If the changes contemplated are to be dropped, then the bank would loose a
valuable customer and the extension counter be closed and the employees would be redeployed.

The fair and frank discussions, the author had with the employees, had a telling effect and they
realized their folly. However, they wanted the time be changed; that is, instead of 12.30 PM,.the
branch be opened by 12.00 Noon and they have assured that they would extend their full
cooperation in receiving cash on busy days even beyond the stipulated hours. Thus the resistance
to change could be solved to the satisfaction of the employees.

07. Employees resistance-a potential energy for Change effort.

It now clear that when employees do not accept the change measures and do not like the change
process, the same should be seen as a healthy and beneficial wake up call for improvement. Each
employee can be considered as a product of intelligent people with good common sense, trying
to make things better.

It must be construed that dealing with resistance in positive ways is one of the good strategies for
accelerating the change effort. Employee resistance can be considered as potential energy, which
can be harnessed for improving the bottom line of the organization.

In the case referred to as above, the resistance of the employees for the changes in timings could
result in motivation of their morale and the employees develop a sort importance for the bank to
develop and come to the conclusion that the growth of the Bank is the growth of the employees
Alternatively, the welfare of employees depends on the growth of the organization.

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