Resistance to change at micro level

But the resistance to change include, as a rule, individuals or social groups that could be benefit from change and even perceive the advantage is possible. These groups offer the field of an interesting theoretical analysis together with those of the loser avoided (which are in fact "winners" that do not know how to exploit the opportunities offered), groups opposed to change does not have a justification of the type of instrumental rationality.

Which determines these people (convinced that change might bring benefits) to oppose? Here comes a matter of reproductive behavior. There are social changes that bring benefits that do not generate resistance or that man receives benefits without being required to work extra (special) or if people are willing to these efforts. (Romania's transition to capitalist economy has created a class of entrepreneurs who were able to benefit (within the law) of new opportunities and agreed to make efforts in this regard. But beneficial change involves not only "benefit" received by itself but also a change (sometimes major) mentality, behavior, vision, motivation. Here the problem needed to be explained theoretically.

Changing the "inner" is one that generates resistance to change even when change "outside" is the man's advantage. The resistance to change appears to us, in this case as a free resistance designed to change "their state of affairs" due to lack of desire to additional efforts. It is said that the habit is one of the most powerful social forces. The habituation may occur in accepting the present state and rejecting the one promoted in organization when internal change proves difficult to achieve, even if external change would benefit them.

In Scheme 8 there is an attempt for a typology of resistance to change. Abscissa presents the possible effects of change on individuals or groups. These effects can be positive or negative. The ordinates are taken into consideration and the effort is made by individual in order to change "his state of mind" (vision, beliefs, behavior, will action, interest for changes, etc.) And it may be larger or smaller.

Case 1 presented the resistance to change of groups that may be advantaged by the change and for which the adaptation to change requires very little effort. These are those who demonstrate the inability to personal change: dominated by habit and routine work, lack of ambition and ability to assume the lowest risk. The most characteristic avoidable losers are recruited from this class.

Case 2 shows the resistance groups that might benefit much of change, but should make greater efforts to adapt and retrain. Being able to switch among "winners in battle," they cannot mobilize and use their capabilities (real or potential), falling often among preventable losers but harder to save (older people that have to radically change the way work - for example, passing to the computerized activities).

Scheme 8 Typology of resistance to change

Typology of resistance to change

Case 3 refers to those who would be directly disadvantaged by the change (endangered profession, former power-holders, employees of liquidated companies, etc.). With little effort, they could move among the beneficiaries of change, but the habits, education, lack of courage to face the change, "throw" them easily in the avoidable losers' camp.

Case 4 shows resistance of those in the most difficult situation when the change is disadvantageous to them and efforts to address these real threats are required to be major. Elderly people, with great difficulty, can absorb any occupation, unemployed living in areas where there are no jobs, young people in villages with poor school qualification (often before graduating twelve classes) and without a place to work (in rural or urban places). In terms of resistance to change within the organization, the four cases are present. Firstly, the management will better identify which category each employee covers and seek appropriate measures for the differentiated situations. In case 1 there will be used the methods to enhance motivation of co-participation in case 2 professional training courses can be used, in case 3 there are useful employment courses in other sectors or retirement system. It is known the culture analysis made by Schein who treats the contents on three levels (Scheme 9).

Scheme 9 Schein's culture scheme[1]

Schein's culture scheme

  • [1] Schein, E. H. (1955), Organizational Culture (see Hatch, Mary Jo (1997), Organizational Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 211).
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