Meaning of Resistance to change

What is resistance to change:

Resistance to change is called all those situations in which people must modify certain routines or habits of life or professionals, but refuse to do something new or different due to fear or difficulty.

The resistance to change that each individual presents is different depending, to a large extent, on previous experiences, and the capacity and disposition that one has to face the changes. Resistance can be immediate, deferred, overt, and implicit.

Some people are afraid of the unknown, of changing routines and habits. The human being is an animal of habits and likes to have everything under control, consequently, new situations can generate chaos, uncertainty and lack of control.

On the contrary, there is another percentage of individuals who see in change an opportunity to improve, learn and excel. This may be due to experiences, being used to change, age, as well as how open and receptive the person can be to change.

For some people, it is more important to preserve their customs than to adapt to the new. Hence, it may be easier for young people to cope with change than for adults or older people.

For example, dieting is more difficult for many people than others. Changes in eating habits can generate resistance, anxiety, or annoyance. To modify certain customs is to face and overcome resistance to change.

Changes are necessary processes that must be carried out, no matter how much you do not want to leave the place of comfort, especially with the current pace of life in which digital updates, management systems, work methods, study, among others are constant.

See also the meaning of Resistance.

Reasons for resistance to change

For specialists, there are different reasons to resist change, some consider, beyond age and experiences, that the level of education influences the ability to cope with changes. However, the basic reasons are:

Habits: human beings are animals of habits and routines, that is why changes generate resistance and insecurity when modifying an activity that is carried out frequently.

Emotional balance: mental balance plays a very important role when assuming a change. Emotionally balanced people respond better to changes than those who are not.

Fear of the unknown: change of job, university, place of residence, among other situations, mean the new. This can generate anxiety and fear of not knowing what to find and how to face the unknown.

Other reasons why resistance to change may appear to a greater or lesser extent are lack of tolerance to ambiguous situations, self-sufficiency, attitude towards life, culture, personality, ability to establish relationships of work and friendship, fear of failure, among others.

It should also be mentioned those times when changes come suddenly, if it involves a sentimental breakdown or ceasing to be self-sufficient and independent.

See also the meaning of Change and Comfort Zone.

Resistance to organizational change

Resistance to organizational change, on the other hand, is a situation that is constant, especially if one considers how important it is for organizations to maintain a high level of work, production and quality of product or service.

For an organization to be competitive it is necessary that its human capital and machinery face changes from time to time in order to improve the systems, methods and work procedure.

For this reason, data and response capacity analyzes are carried out in order to determine the need for modifications or not.

However, for those responsible for the management of a company or organization it is not an easy task to consider carrying out a procedure change.

Just as in people, in an organization, seen as a group of people, resistance to change can also be observed, which arises from the fear that invades employees of seeing the possibility of losing their job, of being impaired or not obtaining the possibility of promotion.

However, resistance to organizational change manages to be positive, to a large extent, because it encourages workers to motivate themselves and give their best to avoid failure, generate debates, share opinions and demonstrate whether or not the change is appropriate.

But, on the other hand, resistance to organizational change can also generate greater problems, especially when the people involved refuse to follow the new guidelines, delaying work and hindering the work of others.

Reasons for resistance to organizational change

There is a list of reasons why in various organizations they resist change, which can be very true, but, in turn, can generate disadvantages. Between them:

  • Fear of failure
  • The economic investment to be made involves large amounts of money.
  • Greater or lesser responsibilities and little flexibility in workers.
  • Loss of money, workers, customers or suppliers.
  • Modify the bases of the organizational culture, which is the guide of all those who work in the company.
  • Salary changes and modification of the benefits offered by the organization.
  • Lack of knowledge or misinformation of why the changes are made and their positive or negative aspects.
  • Fear of the new.

Considering these reasons, in some organizations changes are limited by fear and the impossibility of knowing how it will be affected.

To overcome resistance to organizational change, communication within the company must be constant and clear, explaining the reason for the changes and their positive side in general terms.

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