Employee resistance is a symptom, not a problem, in the change process. What are some of the real problems that may underlie employee resistance?
Week 4 Discussion: Employee Resistance
Discussion Question 4:
The organizational change process is an evitable phenomenon that is undeniable by any authority or management. As the external environment of an organization changes, the management has to accept the same change. Changes related to government intervention, technological advancement, political impact, environmental impact, and many others would be incorporated into the organization (Amarantou et al., 2018).
In many cases, this change would take place in three formats such as technology, structure, and people. The outcome of change would take different forms such as coordination mechanism, authority relationship, government law implementation, organizational structural change, implementation of new software, job design, the extent of centralization, and many more (Vos & Rupert, 2018). Employee resistance is a normal aspect here, however, this is not a problem for the management. Rather it could be a symptom to see the validity of the change process.
The real problems behind employee resistance are multifold. The major problem identified would be a lack of trust. If an employee is resisting the change, then, this means that the leader has not yet earned the trust of the employee. Poor communication is another real problem behind employee resistance (MacShane & Von Glinow, 2015). Many times, the employees are not aware of the details of the changes that would be executed in the process. Transparent communication would be very much expected by the employees (Amarantou et al., 2018).
With such an effort from the management, employees’ commitment remains doubtful in the change process. The third real problem is emotional support. The common emotional responses during any change process are fear, uncertainty, worry, and anxiety (MacShane & Von Glinow, 2015). Employees need an agent or someone they can trust who would support their emotional needs. The next real problem is the fear of failure. Employees are well aware of the present procedure and they know the standards, performance indicators, and others (Vos & Rupert, 2018). The new process may bring new performance indicators where the employee is uncertain of the consequence of failure which they would certainly like to resist.
Along with this, employees hardly like any surprises in the workplace as they expect predictability and certainty in the process (MacShane & Von Glinow, 2015). Surprises at work would make employees unsure of their security and employment status. Another real problem would be constant change. When the employees see changes so often, they seem to lose their respect and trust in their seniors and leaders. With constant change, employees could not see the vision or even the mission of the organization, and they sense that the management has lost direction (MacShane & Von Glinow, 2015). This is one of the worst problems due to which most employees resist and leave an organization during the change process.
Amarantou, V., Kazakopoulou, S., Chatzoudes, D., & Chatzoglou, P. (2018). Resistance to change: an empirical investigation of its antecedents. Journal of Organizational Change Management.
MacShane, S. L., & Von Glinow, M. A. Y. (2015). Organizational Behavior: Emerging Knowledge, Global Reality. McGraw-Hill Education.
Vos, J. F., & Rupert, J. (2018). Change agent’s contribution to recipients’ resistance to change: A two-sided story. European management journal, 36(4), 453-462.