Bierema, L. (2014). Links to an external site.An introduction to organizational development. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
This text is a Constellation™ course digital materials (CDM) title.
- Chapter 1: Organization Development: An Introduction to the Field, Its History, and Practices
Chapter 2: Organization ChangeWeekly Lecture
Week One Lecture
Change Agents and Resistance to Change
For many individuals, groups, and organizations alike, at the mere inference to change, there is immediate resistance. Change will often times be met with resistance for a variety of reasons. Some may be:
- Dislike (fear) of change
- Can I trust the change?
- Perceived negative impact
- Do not see the need to change current ways of doing things
- There is no time to change
- Lack of clarity as to what is expected
- Uncertainty of future employment: Am I safe? Will I measure up to new standards?
- “We have been down this road before” or “We keep trying to reinvent the wheel”
- Belief that the wrong changes are being made and the leadership team is out of touch
There are many theories of addressing change, change models, and diagnosing the necessary changes in organizations. Senge (1999), Kotter (1996), Kahn (2010), Palmer, Dunford & Aiken (2009), and Bridges (2009) agree on one word: Communication! How better to reduce and overcome resistance than through communication? The act of informing, involving, and educating employees will aid in reducing resistance. All of the above are forms of communication! Think for a moment of a recent change you experienced. Did you resist the change? If so, why did you resist it? Did you completely understand the change? Did you understand the need for the change? Did you understand how it would affect you?
Conversely, while some resist change, there are groups that will embrace it. Some reasons for embracing change are:
- More streamlined processes
- Financial gain
- Promotions and additional responsibilities
- Intrinsic motivation/sense of satisfaction
Why change agents? A change agent can be the facilitator of the change, the OD consultant, or employees enlisted to help facilitate the process. An employee that is enlisted in the change process will be in the group that has embraced the change and the need for change. Often times, these newly enlisted change agents go back to their respective teams, groups, or departments carrying the change message and are able to be a vehicle in overcoming resistance.
Kotter (1996) also reminds us that celebrating short-term wins is important throughout the change process. He defines short term wins as having the following three components:
- It’s visible – where people can see the numbers or results to date as opposed to just believing in the hype.
- It’s unambiguous – there is little disagreement about the results.
- It’s clearly related to the change effort (Kotter, 1996).
Celebrating short-term wins serves as a tool to motivate everyone involved, incent the resistors, reinforce the change initiative, serve as a litmus test, and be a tool in which the initiatives are reviewed and adjusted, if necessary.
Bridges, W. (2009). Managing transitions: Making the most of change. Philadelphia, PA: DeCapo.
Kahan, S. (2010). Getting change right: How leaders transform organizations from the inside out. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review.
Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Akin, G. (2009). Managing organizational change: A multiple perspectives approach (2nd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Roth, G., & Smith, B. (1999). The dance of change: The challenges to sustaining momentum in a learning organization. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.
Select two change models in Chapter Two. Compare and contrast the models and, referencing this week’s lecture, discuss resistance, or how change could be embraced.
In a two- to three- page paper (not including the title and reference pages) select a, b, or c from the list below and compare and contrast the change interventions.
- Transitional and Transformational Change
- First and Second Order Change
- Operational and Strategic Change
You must use at least two scholarly journal articles that reference the selected change interventions, in addition to the text, and format your paper according to APA style guidelines as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.