Resistance A Constructive Tool for Change Management

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Authors: D. Waddell, A.S. Sohal

Publication Year: 1998

Source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00251749810232628

Journal: Management Decision

Volume: 36

Issue: 8

Categories: Change Management, Organizational Change, Change Management


Abstract

Traditionally, resistance has been cast as adversarial – the enemy of change that must be defeated if change is to be successful. While it is appar- ent that classical manage- ment theory viewed resis- tance in such a manner, recent literature contains much evidence that suggests resistance may indeed be useful and is not to be simply discounted. Present day suggestions and prescriptions for managing resistance have evidently disregarded this research and left little room for utility in resistance. This paper argues that the diffi- culty of organisational change is often exacerbated by the mismanagement of resistance derived from a simple set of assumptions that misunderstand resis- tance’s essential nature. It is suggested that management may greatly benefit from techniques that carefully manage resistance to change by looking for ways of utilis- ing it rather than overcoming it.