Definition Of Resistance To Change Management Essay

This chapter will cover the definition of change and resistance to change, then each variable which may potentially influence middle managers attitude towards change are discussed separately which include: middle managers perceived benefits of change, and middle managers involvement in change. Secondly, the chapter will also discuss the influential factors which may influence attitude towards change, based on extensive literature of researches carried out which include: organization benefits, organization barriers, employees’ age, employees education, and demographic characteristics. Finally, the chapter will end with a conclusion.

As cited by Jia, Li, Song, Tsui, & Zhang (2008) middle managers are taking an important position in organizations. They are accountable for achieving organizational goals by translating and implementing organizational strategies, managing change, creating optimal working environments, ensuring smooth running of operations, building teams and motivating subordinates, and so on Delmestri & Walgenbach (2005), Floyd & Wooldridge (1997), Huy, (2002),Barsoux, Kieser, Ganter, Stewart & Walgenbach(1994). In order to survive, organizations rely on the creativity and innovation of middle-level managers Dutton, Ashford, O‟Neill, Hayes, & Wierba(1997). Resistance to change introduces costs and delays into the change process Ansoff (1990) that are difficult to anticipate Lorenzo (2000) but must be taken into consideration. Resistance has also been considered as a source of information, being useful in learning how to develop a more successful change process Beer and Eisenstat (1996), Goldstein, 1988; Lawrence(1954), Piderit ( 2000), Waddell and Sohal (1998). In previous research, middle managers were identified as the key group in organizations that covers a wide range of responsibilities. Mintzberg (1980) identified as one of the responsibilities of middle managers were translating strategy into operations. Miller & Shamsie (1996), stated that knowledge has become one of the most important assets in economic life. Unlike physical assets, which have traditionally been considered the basis of competitive advantage, knowledge assets are the source of today’s organizations’ ability to outperform their competitors

In addition, Carney (2004) also stated that middle managers are the ones who developed strategy. Beckwith, Glenzer & Fowler (2002), defined middle managers as the ones capable of leading change from the middle. Other definition of responsibilities of middle managers are championing, synthesizing, facilitating and implementing Floyd&Lane (2000); Anderson-Ashcraft (2007)

2.2 Definition of Change

Change can be defined as the process of transitioning from one state to another (Newton, 2007). According to Newton the word transformation‟ is often used as a synonym for change. According to Herold & Fedor, (2008), organizational change defined as alterations of existing work routines and strategies that affect a whole organization has become a central focus in the strategic and change management literatures Beck, Bruderl, & Woywode, (2008); Huy,(1999) Pettigrew, Woodman, & Cameron, (2001). A common distinction made in the management of organizational change is between incremental and radical change (Lee, 2011). Arris (1999) referred to incremental change as continuous improvement. Radical change is according to Lee (2011) often referred to as transformation. According to Miller and Friesen (1984) and Greenwood and Hinings (1996) radical change is a qualitative alteration of an organization’s rules of organizing the fundamental rules that members use to interact cognitively and behaviorally with the world around them. Kotter, Schlesinger & Sathe (1986), underscore this by commenting that most managers approach change with a simple set of beliefs and end up exacerbating the problems that arise because they fail to understand them in any systematic manner. However, in many cases, sometimes estimated to be as many as 50 percent of all changes, organizational change has failed to deliver expected results and or meet intended objectives Marks,(2006); Paper & Chang, (2005); Quinn, (2004). Similarly, a recent survey of global companies reported that only one-third of organizational change initiatives were considered successful by their organizational executives Meaney &Pung, (2008).Former empirical researches concluded that attitudinal and behavioral implications of employees had

An important participation in the success of organizational change. For instance, researchers have found that individual employees’ change related attitudes and behaviors are related to post change organizational performance Kim & Mauborgne, (2003), Robertson, Roberts, & Porras, (1993) and their work performance following change Neubert & Cady, (2001). Paton and Mc Calman, (2000) stated that change management approaches and theories generally stress the need to multi-task and to view change holistically. They also stated by means of research done that women middle managers are likely to be far better suited to multi-tasking than their male colleagues. Dempster, (1998) confirmed that it is not surprisingly, that they tend to manage change differently.

2.3 Definition of resistance to change

Lewin (1951) was one of the first researchers to consider the notion of employee resistance to organizational change in the management field. His conception of the term was drawn from the physical sciences and considers resistance to be a restraining force attempting to maintain the status quo Piderit, (2000). Bouckenooghe (2011) stated that the majority of the literature about attitudes toward change, including resistance toward change, focuses on planned, top-down driven organizational change and the individual level of analysis. The term resistance always implies a sense of opposition Hollander & Einwohner, (2004). Bouckenooghe (2010) and Piderit (2000), stated that in recognition of the varying definitions of resistance to change and similar concepts that have emerged, such as cynicism about organizational change, some authors have tried to create a more integrative view of attitudes toward change. They also stated that, This notion of attitudes toward change is used to bring together the varying ways of conceptualizing people’s reactions toward change by incorporating cognitive, affective or emotional, and intentional, behavioral components

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The specific problem in this research is to determine how two main potential determinants, “perceived benefits of change” and “involvement in change” impacts middle managers attitude. This research verified how these factors acts as possible mediator to influence the attitudes of middle managers in a positive or negative way towards change, in organizations. Giangreco (1999) argues that the distinction between overt and covert forms of resistance to change is particularly important in relation to middle management roles. He stated that middle Managers‟ dissent usually takes the form of passive resistance than of open rejection. Van Zandt (2004) argues that manager resistance comes from a slightly different perspective than the other employees. According to him, the leading reason for managers‟ resistance to change is fear of loss of power and control. The two factors directly related to this are the “perceived benefits of change” and the “involvement in the change process”. Attitude of a person is determinant how he will perceive whatever change has to be applied. This is in line with Ajzen and Fishbein’s (1980) theory of reasoned action suggesting a direct link between people’s specific attitudes towards a given phenomenon and their behavioral reaction to it Bandura,(1977); Fishbein and Ajzen,(1975).

Change often eliminates something over which the manager had control or introduces something over which the manager does not have control. As cited by Van Zandt, some managers perceive a change as a personal attack by other managers and react to the change initiative as a “battle for turf.” Prosci,(2003). They feel an overload of their current tasks, the pressures of their daily activities, and limited resources to assist them with the new responsibilities given to them during the change process Durant, (1999). Giangreco and Peccei (2005) suggest that the most common factors that affect employee level of resistance to change in organizations are perceptions of the cost and benefits associated with change and the extent of their involvement in the actual process of change. They noted that the perception of the cost and benefits associated with change relates to the content of change. Braaf, P (2011) said that it specifically refers to individuals‟ perceptions of the possible impact that the change could have on them, of the personal advantages and disadvantages associated with the actual change itself. Dempster, (1998) also stated that, gender issues in the workplace have also faced a great deal of scrutiny, however there has been little or no research linking gender differences to the management of change. These factors that go along with change can cause substantial fear and anxiety amongst individuals involved in the change process and; hence, can become an important source of resistance to change Caruth, Middlebrook, & Rachel(1985), Mc Crimmon(1997), Hegarty(1993), Nadler (1993), Hultman, (1995), Folger and Skarlicki (1999); Pardo del Val and Martines Fuentes (2003).

According to Giangrecco and Peccei (2005) individuals will exhibit higher levels of resistance when they perceive more costs from change than benefits. Regarding the process as the other major influence on resistance, Giangrecco and Peccei (2005) argue that it relates to the way the change itself is managed. It refers to the way in which individuals affected by the change

Figure 1-Model Source: Giangreco and Peccei (2005): Middle managers resistance to changehttp://imageserver.ebscohost.com/img/imageqv/archive/3cc/20051001/1481384.jpg?ephost1=dGJyMNXb4kSepq84v%2bvlOLCmr0qepq5Srqa4SK6WxWXS

are involved in the process of change, and the extent to which they participate in various aspects of the development and implementation of the change within the organization. Following the explanatory model of resistance to change Giangreco and Peccei (2005) gives the relational factors that affects attitude towards change.

This conceptual model, (Figure 1-1),showed the interrelationship of the dependable Resistance To Change and Attitudes towards change, with the two independent variables “Perceived benefits of change” and the “Involvement in change”. This study, however was to investigate the involvement in the change process and the perception of the cost of change on managers attitudes towards the change itself, and how this, influence their reactions towards change Kotter and Schlesinger, (1979), Lawrence, (1954), Pugh, (1993). As mentioned in limitations the direct and indirect influences on resistance to change were excluded.

The two independent variables “involvement in the change processes and “perceived benefits of change” are the factors that directly, influence attitudes towards change, which could acts as mediator to positively or negatively influence middle managers reactions toward change. Hence, the factors “perceived benefits of change” and “involvement in change” both can have a direct or indirect effect on change, through the indirect influence of factors that impact managers attitudes towards change.

2.4 Perceived Benefits of Change

The variable ‘Perceived benefits of change” represents how the middle managers filter their preferences and appreciation of the changes to happen. Isabella, (1990), Lau and Woodman, (1995), Smollan,( 2006) stated that success of a change process is not determined or dictated by how change is described, explained, or understood by scholars, but by how it is experienced and what it means to those directly affected. The cognitive aspect of Change is a determinant on the attitude of middle managers. Mintzberg (1990), Floyd and Wooldridge(2000) stated that middle managers can both be “thinkers” and “doers” of strategy .The social conception and personal values or self interest are some critical triggers to the attitude of middle managers to accept change. Change can be viewed and understand by managers in different ways. According to Bartunek, Lacey and Wood, (1992); Stubbard, Meindl and Porac, (1994); Weber and Manning, (2001), participants view change, it is filtered through their preferences and appreciated and accepted or resisted accordingly. Such preferences are a function of social cognition or sense-making Weick, (1999). Atkinson (1984), Brett, Stro, & Reilly, (1993) stated that job changes within the company are usually seen as a positive phenomenon, contributing to organizational flexibility and employee development. The perception is the key factor for a manager to decide if he engaged to change to be applied in an organization if considered desirable or undesirable. DiBella (1996) stated that Perceptions of the change varied at different levels of analysis and across the organization’s department-based subcultures. Kotter and Schlesinger (1979) state that there are four common reasons for employees’ resistance: a desire not to lose something of value, a misunderstanding of the change and its implications, a belief that the change does not make sense for the organization and a low tolerance for change. Diener, Smith, & Fujita, 1995; Shaver, Schwartz, Kirson, & O’Connor 1987 defines that, like moods, emotions can easily be classified into positive and negative categories, however, research has shown that there are many more than two distinct emotions. Kotter (1995) also observed more than 100 companies in a decade and reported that when organizations attempt a major change, the employees often understand the new vision and want to make it happen, but there are obstacles that prevent execution. Taylor, and Weaver (1977), Penley and Hawkins (1980), Quinn, Smes and McCullough (1973) stated that yet women’s attitudes toward their jobs are often more favorable than men’s. All mentioned, are based on how a manager can perceive the benefits or the loss regarding its position in a new process of change which affects its attitude towards change.

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2.5 Attitudes towards change

Attitudes of middle managers are considered as the mediating tool for success or for failure. Alreck & Settle (2004) defined attitudes towards organizational change as the beliefs of a manager about organizational change and their likelihood to take action based on these beliefs. If the influence on the attitude of the middle manager is negative, his total attitude towards delegation of change strategies will be negative. In addition, Blau, Ferber, and Winkler,(1998),Jacobs (1992) observed that although women have made progress at moving into management positions in recent years, gender segregation of organizational hierarchies persists, with women often concentrated in lower and middle level management positions rather than the more salient upper-level positions Beer, Eisenstat, and Spector (1990) found that in the fundamental flaw as “the fallacy of programmatic change that the place to begin an organizational change is with the knowledge and attitudes of individuals. Middle managers are the ones who interpret actions, experience and observation in both directions to the top management and to the work floor. Burgelman (1994), Currie (1999) Currie and Procter (2001), all stated that middle managers play a central role in developing new ideas with the reshaping of firm capabilities and affecting strategic renewal. Strategy implementation and strategy formulation are closed interrelated, half of the strategic decisions in organizations fail for reasons relating to strategy implementation rather than formulation Jarzabkowski, (2008); Mintz- berg & Waters, (1985) Hickson, Miller, & Wilson, (2003); Nutt, (1999). Mcshane and Von Glinow (2008), gave another dimension of attitude toward change indicated that, it generally consists of a person’s cognitions about change, affective reactions to change, and behavioral tendency toward change. Allen and Meyer(1993;1997), Mowday, Porter, and Steers,(1982) found out that, older and more tenured workers have more access to positive work experiences, explaining their higher levels of commitment. Explaining the different satisfaction levels that men and women have experienced. Hakim (1991) and Fagan and Rubery (1996) have also suggested that women in full-time and part-time employment have qualitatively different working attitudes than men, explaining the different satisfaction levels that men and women have experienced.

Chreim (2006) also stated that attitudes function as predictors of subsequent behavior with regard to participation in the process of change. Therefore, whenever change occur attitudes towards such change should be taken into consideration because it predicts success and failure of the programs. Meyer and Allen (1991), stated that organizational commitment is expressed by attitudes and behavior that reveal an employee’s identification and involvement with the organization and it has been linked to increased productivity and reduced absenteeism and turnover. Keck (1997,) argued that, demographic studies showed that young, less tenured and heterogeneous middle managers have the composition most likely to produce strategic and structural changes in turbulent contexts. According to Rosabeth Moss Kanter (1993,1994),the gender balance in the workplace is changing, this is one of the most significant demographic phenomenon ever to face organizations. As stated by Kanter (1991), Mintzberg (1994), Pascale (1997), Boddy and Paton(1998), Paton and Mc Cal-man (2000), given the emphasis placed upon developing a transformational style, or culture, when managing change, or when formulating and implementing strategic initiatives, one could speculate that women may be better equipped to manage such situations than men.

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2.6 Involvement in change

The second variable “involvement in change” is the experience of the middle managers participation in the development of the strategies that will affect its attitude towards the change itself. Floyd (1992),Wooldridge (1997) and Balogun (2003), stated that the middle manager role in strategy, is implementing top managements’ intended strategies. Westley (1990) stated that the first condition for championing middle managers is the inclusion in the process of planning. Hardy(1996); Balogun (2005), Gioia and Chittipeddi (1991)  stated , that by mobilizing process and resource power, several middle managers were able to influence meaning making and position themselves as major sense givers, with great influence on others sense making. Kanter,(1977), Burt (1992; 2001); Lane and Bachman,(1998) have underlined the importance of trust during organizational change, but their main focus has been on trust as a factor that facilitates change or that positively moderates the relationships between facets of the change process and successful implementation of change. The involvement of middle managers in strategy planning affects their attitude positively toward the change. Floyd and Wooldridge, (1997); Huy, (2001) claimed that top management can gain advantages from involving middle managers more closely in strategy development. Akerlind (2005) and Padilla (2008) stated, while the development of staff has received attention in terms of teaching, and to a lesser extent, research there is a gap in the literature regarding female academics’ development in their administrative or management roles, particularly at the middle levels. Huy (2002) concludes that middle managers are at least as important as senior executives in facilitating radical change. Balogun (2003) also found that middle managers are not per se a blockage to change, but can make an important strategic contribution. De Marco (2002) speaks of the `critical role of middle management’. Research has increasingly shown that middle managers play a pivotal role in developing new ideas, reshaping firm capabilities, and affecting strategic renewal Burgelman, (1994); Currie, (1999); Currie and Procter, (2001). Popper and Lipchitz (1992), Redshaw (2000) also stated that coaching has been defined in several ways; as a process of giving guidance, encouragement and support to the learner, or as a day to day, hands on process of helping employees recognize opportunities to improve their performance and capabilities. Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lentz and Lima (2004) explains that mentoring consists of three parts; vocational support, psycho social support and role modeling. Mintzberg (1990); Floyd and Wooldridge (2000), stated that middle managers can both be “thinkers” and “doers” of strategy. Mintzberg, (1994), Wooldridge and Floyd, (1990), Kogut and Zander, (1996), all stated that, involvement of middle managers in strategic planning is said to be beneficial for organizations as they provide valuable “soft information” on key stakeholders, improve the quality of strategic decisions and generate a sense of ownership and identification with organizational goals By participating middle managers in the whole process of change brings only advantage for the organization. This enhance the trust on both sides and brings a more clear understanding to the managers mind the why and how changes has to be applied, making for him more easy to convince employees toward the change that affects also the manager attitude in a positive manner.

2.7 Conclusion

In conclusion; This research, focused on two factors perceived benefits of change’ and the involvement of change’. The perceived benefits of change and the involvement of change were investigated as influential drivers of the attitudes towards change. In this study, the approach to attitudes towards change was based on the behavior of middle managers towards change as a form of passive oppositions to manifest their dissent towards organizational change to be implemented. Middle managers, conscious of their position do not express in such violent ways and choose a milder form of resistance to express their dissatisfaction. Gianfranco (1999) stated that this distinction between more overt and covert forms of dissent, linked to notions of opposition and resistance to change, respectively, is particularly important in relation to middle management roles.

According to the literature, middle managers’ reactions to change and their role in processes of organizational change more generally have, nevertheless, attracted considerable interest and attention in literature Balogun ( 2003), Dopson and Neumann (1998), Floyd and Lane (2000). As already mentioned the two main factors which potentially affect employees attitudes towards change are: perceived benefits of change and involvement in change. Furthermore, factors as employees’ age, highest completed education, tenure and gender profile were also studied. The outcome of this study, will provide important information to organizations of Curacao, for effectively assess organizational change. It will also give new dimensions of thinking, how to implicate middle managers in organizational change and valuate more deeply middle managers functions in organizations on the island of Curacao.

The literature review used in this chapter was used to validate the questionnaire used in this survey. The literature review verified also the results obtained from data collection, with the results mentioned in the literature theory.

The following chapter will elaborate more on the methodology used for this study.

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