Resistance to Change

Resistance to change may develop for a variety of reasons. A common one is that people do not know how to change or do not understand why it is important to do so; they may perceive their relative social economic status endangered or diminished. Another reason is that an individual might feel psychologically threatened, his self-concept endangered. Another important but often overlooked reason for some resistance is that the change involved is not a good idea. Not all change is good, and some resistance can be considered as being intelligent.

Resistance to change occurs often more for social process than for technical change reasons. Thus, it is important that change agents understand in depth the psycho-social aspects of a particular system so that they will know how people will be effected and perceive the contemplated change. People often resist any changes that alter their customary social and working relationships. For this reason, technical and staff personnel who are concerned with developing new approaches must be alert to considering more than just the technical or logical value of their proposed ideas. If they hope to gain successful implementation, they must also consider the important social relationship dimensions of the change.

Resistance can be countered by trying to remove the causes or reasons for it and/or by increasing the pressure for change. Which of these two general approaches to take must be determined situationally; there is no easy answer as to which is better, and combined approach is probably to be preferred.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit, and my Lectures.

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