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Resistance to Change


Human beings are notably bad at coping with change. The problem is that the world is constantly changing. Change generally is a good thing, it means more productivity, it means better service and it means better treatment.

When it comes to the subject of work, employees can be very stubborn in the face of change. Change in the work environment is usually seen as a threat. If a manager is leaving, there is usually fear that whoever takes the place of the manager will sweep on with lots of new changes! As if is not bad enough to have a change of staff then comes the changes of working conditions, changes of staff and changes of procedures. A lot of fear of changes is usually unfounded, but during a period of change, staff can be very unsettled and quite argumentative.

Resistance can take many forms; it can be active or passive. People, who take the active approach, will outwardly show their anxiety either by becoming awkward or just rude and generally miserable. People who take the passive role may actually not say much and tend to keep their opinions to themselves. They are the ones to really worry about, on the face of it they may seem to be OK with change but underneath it is causing them a lot of stress.

Some people may take on the aggressive or timid role. The aggressive ones will not only be outspoken, they will find every opportunity to put down any new ideas without even trying them even though many changes may have come with a good track record in other environments. Then there is the timid person, in their case the stress that they are feeling is insurmountable. These are the people to really worry about as they are too timid to ask questions to find out the specific results of any change.

The really worrying scenario is the one where there is organized resistance to change. This has got to be the most difficult to deal with as it usually ‘us’ against ‘them’. This is a very bad situation to be in as the group or individual are herding the opposition together in a situation very much like mob rule. This can also be difficult to deal with as there may be some covert manipulation to devise plans that will actively prevent any positive impact of the changes.

At the end of the day the key words are ‘perceived threat’, when you view it in that manner you can envisage that what is perceived may not come to fruition.

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