Personality, Context, and Resistance to Organizational Change

The term resistance to change is used frequently in the research and practitioner literature on organizational change, usually as an explanation for why efforts to introduce large-scale changes in technology, production methods, management practices, or compensation systems fall short of expectations, or fail altogether. Despite the popularity of the term, a number of works (e.g., Dent & Goldberg, 1999; Merron, 1993) suggested to abandon it in the claim that it misrepresents what really happens in the change dynamic. According to Dent and Goldberg (1999), organizational members resist negative consequences (e.g., losing one’s job) and not necessarily change in itself. Therefore, the belief that people resist change hinders organizations’ chances of understanding and dealing with real organizational problems. Similarly, Nord and Jermier (1994) argue that the term is often used as part of an agenda that may overshadow employees’ legitimate reasons for objecting to change. However, according to Nord and Jermier, rather than ‘‘resist resistance’’ and abandon the concept, researchers should try to better address employees’ subjective experiences...

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