types of resistance
Senior management of a large multinational corporation is planning to restructure the organization. Currently, the organization is decentralized around geographic areas so that the executive responsible for each area has considerable autonomy over manufacturing and sales. The new structure will transfer power to the executives responsible for different product groups; the executives responsible for each geographic area will no longer be responsible for manufacturing in their area but will retain control over sales activities. Describe and evaluate two types of resistance senior management might encounter from this organizational change. Also consider what management response should be.
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Many employees in any type of company do not like change. This resistance can come from a number of different sources, including a person’s personality type or a lack of motivation (McShane & Glinow, 2013). Companies cannot avoid change as the external environment is never going to stay consistent. New technology will be produced, client’s tastes will change, and the economy will face its ups and downs. The leaders of a company need to encourage change within the organization and handle the resistance as best they can.
In this situation, the employees who are being switched from manufacturing and sales activities to just sales activities will likely resist this change. They have become comfortable with their roles within the company and the change may cause their pay structure to differ. Since they are retaining part of their old jobs and do not have to learn any new skills, there should be little fear of the unknown in this situation. The team dynamics will not be much different either as the groups will be performing the same tasks, just with a few additional people.
One type of resistance to change that this situation is likely to cause is loss of job security. The restructuring of the departments will cause resentment and fear because the employees are losing part of their responsibilities (Quast, 2012). People become afraid that the relationships, skills, and work space may be changed and disrupted. When people become comfortable with a certain situation and are happy with how the situation is going, it is much harder for them to accept a change that will cause all of that to leave. By resisting the change, they feel that there is a change to keep that normalcy and potentially keep their job security.
Another type of resistance management might face in this situation is resistance to breaking routines (McShane & Glinow, 2013). The executives are used to their job responsibilities, power, and established routines and adding more people to the structure will change these dramatically. They will have to learn new role patterns as they will no longer be in charge of the manufacturing processes. The manufacturing workers may also be resistant in this situation because of the change in leadership. If the executive that used to be in charge of manufacturing was someone that the workers respected and valued, having a new leader may cause unhappiness and a loss of loyalty.
When management encounters these types of resistance to change, they need to make the situation as clear as possible to the employees. Explaining why the change is taking place, what is going to happen, and what the employees’ new roles will be is imperative to reduce the resistance (Eisold, 2010). Instead of dismissing the resistance and simply enforcing the change, management needs to figure out the exact causes of distress and address them. Employees will be more open to the situation if they feel that management cares about their concerns and is willing to work on the issues (Eisold, 2010). The timing should be planned out and the schedule told to everyone involved in the process in order to avoid surprising situations.
Eisold, K. (2010, May 26). Resistance to change in organizations. Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hidden-motives/201005/resistance-change-in-organizations
McShane, S. L., & Glinow, M. A. (2013). Organizational behavior: emerging knowledge, global reality (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Quast, L. (2012, November 26). Overcome the 5 main reasons people resist change. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2012/11/26/overcome-the-5-main-reasons-people-resist-change/