EMPLOYEES RESISTANCE TOWARDS ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE

Postgraduate

Background

Organizations perceive change as very important for its survival and prosperity in today’s most competitive environment and new business challenges. They make change initiative to keep up the pace with changing environment and new challenging competition. The success and performance superiority of organizations are very much dependent on its ability to align its internal arrangement with the demand of external world. While studying the change literature, the concept of change and its differentiation/types seem very ambiguous and it was very difficult to understand the overall picture of change from the scattered literature. As different authors have defined change, based on their differentiation, in different manners, e.g. Schien defined change as it can be natural evolutionary, planned and unplanned change, Leavitt expanded the technical-social (technical & social change) framework, by adding structural change (Leavitt, 1965). We will try to present somewhat clear and complete picture of organizational change based upon the literature and empirical study, which according to our point of view is very important for understanding change and its major problem i.e. employees resistance to change (the main area of this study). Our empirical study is based on a firm operating in a developing economy, which was under severe pressure from external environment and internal problems, and made it very important for its survival to introduce a major change program. Change as an important factor has been discussed by different authors as, ‘change is the only constant’ and very important for the firm. But managing change is very challenging & complex and great amount of care should be taken while making change. One of major problems/threats to organizational change is employees’ resistance and has usually very unpleasant and negative implications for organization. The firm understudy proposed a change program but it was severely resisted by its employees and the change brought very negative results, opposite to its demands. Looking at the possible solutions discussed in the literature of change management, every measure has been applied by the experienced management of the firm to overcome resistance, but failed.


Purpose

The purpose of this study is to understand goal conflict between firm (owners) and individuals (employees) and how it contributes to employees’ resistance to change as a major potential cause/antecedent. Different authors have discussed the importance of causes/antecedents of employees’ resistance to change to know the right problem and develop strategies to overcome it. According to Mintzberg, the cure might actually prove to be just more of the cause (Mintzberg 1998 p. 324). After understanding the causes/antecedents of employees’ resistance to change in the literature, we have got an opportunity to add another potential but major cause of resistance, that is, goal conflict between firm (owners) and individuals (employees). Different theories has been discussed which provide sound basis for understanding and also providing solutions to decrease the negative affects and intensity of the goal conflict. It will enable us to provide management with recommendations for possible solutions to employees’ resistance in the firm understudy. Our empirical study helps us understand, how ‘change’ increases the magnitude and intensity of goal conflict and how it contributes towards employees’ resistance to change. Finally, two theories will be used to suggest the best solutions to reduce the intensity and harmonize the goal conflict between firm and individuals (employees) and hence overcome employees’ resistance.

The research questions are:

How goal conflict between firm (owners) and individuals (employees) contribute towards employees’ resistance to change as a major cause?

 

How to harmonize or reduce the intensity of goal conflict between firm (owners) and individuals (employees), to overcome employees’ resistance?

 

Theory

The theories are about organizational change and resistance, principal agent theory, goal theory and Stakeholders’ theory. Other theories like, the neoclassical, neo-Keynesian and managerial theory of firm are also presented to strengthen the concept of goal conflict that exists between firm and its employees. The theory of organizational change and resistance help us understand the concept of change and resistance. Principal agent theory, neoclassical, neo-Keynesian, and managerial theory explain the conflict between firms (owners) and its employees’ goals and interests. Stakeholder theory and principal agent theory has been studied and matched with the situation of the firm understudy to provide solutions/measures and suggest recommendations for reducing and harmonizing goal conflict, to overcoming resistance to change.