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Excelerate Consulting | Change Management Experts

What Is Change Resistance, And Why Do Employees Resist Change? 

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What Is Change Resistance

What Is Change Resistance? According to PROSCI, “Resistance is a normal human response to change, ” and change management is not just a tool for managing resistance reactively. It is most effective for activating and engaging employees in a change.”

Employees resist change due to several reasons: 

  • Self Interest

When people think that they will lose power or something of value in a changing environment, they resist it. They focus on the impacts on themselves as compared to the organization. Sometimes employees or groups feel that they will lose control of resources and decision-making; hence they adhere to the status quo. It is due to the fear of losing power and authority.  

  • The ‘Why’ of change is not clear   

Employees resist when there is uncertainty about the ‘Why ‘of change. Many studies show that employees resisted when the purpose was not clearly communicated. 

They didn’t know why we were changing, what the benefits were to them as individuals, and what the gain was for the organization. They were unaware of the WIIFM (what is in it for me) and how the change will impact me and my role. 

In many cases, leaders are already on the journey to make the change, whereas employees are still figuring it out and don’t share the same excitement. If their direct supervisors are unsure as well, they will get mixed messages. They display less confidence, lack of commitment and loyalty to the organization.   

  • Lack of Trust in Leadership  

Miundertsaing is often a source of resistance. Employees sometimes do not understand the implications of change, and there can be a gap between what was intended and what they know. If the change leader or sponsor is a person who lacks credibility and trust, the resistance will compound. 

Change in communication and messaging play a critical role. If the message is different from what the senior management team proposed, employees resist change and show a complete lack of trust in the proposed change.  

  • Fear of overwork or loss of job 

When a system or technology changes, employees need to work in several legacy systems or workarounds. They resist change because of the increased amount of work. In some cases, the new role requires new skills, and employees feel unequipped to meet the performance requirements of the new job. Hence, they worry they will lose a career in the new work environment. 

  • Change Fatigue

Depending upon organizational past performance with change and the number of change projects and initiatives going on at the same can turn off people to accept change. They are tired of serial changes and feel exhausted, and they feel burnt out and lack enthusiasm or excitement about a new tomorrow.  

  • Tenured Staff 

People who have been very long with an organization and have been working in a certain way are resistant to any change because it is in their comfort zone to adhere to the old practices. 

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