Rethinking Resistance andRecognizing Ambivalence:A Multidimensional View of Attitudes toward an Organizational Change
INTRODUCTIONKEY POINTS:• Resistance to change• Advocate new research based on a reconceptualization of individual responses to change as multidimensional attitudes.CHALLENGING QUESTION:• How can we balance the organizational need to foster ambivalent attitudes toward change and the individual need to minimize the potentially debilitating effects of ambivalence?TAKE AWAY:• Realizing the importance of examining the evolution of employee responses to change over time and the need to understand responses to change proposals that emerge from bottom-up, egalitarian change processes.
MULTIDIMENSIONAL VIEW OF RESPONSES TO PROPOSED ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES• Emotional Response• Cognitive Response• Intentional Response
SOME CONCEPTS• RESISTANCE TO A CHANGE (set of responses to change that are negative along all three dimensions)• SUPPORT FOR A CHANGE (set of responses that are positive along all three dimensions)• AMBIVALENCE IN EMPLOYEES (Responses to a change initiative that are neither consistently negative nor consistently positive
CONCEPTS OF RESISTANCE TO CHANGE Restraining force moving in the direction of maintaining the status quo Forces that lead employees away from supporting changes proposed by managers. According to managers’ perception it is a negative force which makes employees disobedient. Individuals’ possessing power actively oppose initiatives of othe agents. Resistance might be motivated by: Ethical principles Selfishness For seeking attention of top management Resistance may serve as a threat for middle management for their job security.
TRIPARTITE VIEW OF RESISTANCE COGNITIVE An individuals beliefs about the attitude object. This belief can be strongly positive or strongly negative EMOTIONAL An individuals feelings in response to the attitude object. Emotions can be strongly positive(happiness/excitement) or strongly negative(anger/fear) BEHAVIOURAL An individual’s feelings, moods, emotions, in response to an attitude object Positive intention to support change or negative intentions to oppose change.
TWO APPROACHES THEORY X Top – down Approach THEORY Y Bottom – up approach
BEHAVIOURAL RESISTANCE Resistance is a particular kind of action or inaction Resistance is intentional acts of commission (defiance) or omission. Resistance is the willingness to deceive authorities. Forces that they believed produced frustration in employees and caused the undesirable behaviors.
AMBIVALENCEAMBIVALENCE refers to• Incongruent Emotions(simultaneous occurrence of fear and excitement)• Occurrence of cognitive response to change in conflict with emotional response• Intentional Ambivalence –supporting change in public but opposing change anonymously
Unfavorable responses to change might be motivated by the best of intentions.A SYNTHESIS OF PAST Varying emphasis in the CONCEPTUAL- Conceptualization Of IZATIONS ResistanceOF RESISTANCE TO CHANGE Cognitive - Beliefs Emotional -Feelings Behavior - Evaluations Theory X and Theory Y
As defined by (Eagly and Chaiken) Cognitive - "beliefs express positive or negative evaluation of greater or lesser extremity, and occasionally are exactlyA NEW VIEW neutral in their evaluative content“ OF Emotional – “feelings, moods, emotions, RESPONSES and sympathetic nervous-system activityTO CHANGE: that people have experienced in relationAMBIVALENT to an attitude object and subsequently ATTITUDES associate with it" Behavior - past behaviors and future intentions to act. OR Loose connection of intentions with other dimensions of attitudes
1. A multidimensional view of responses to proposed change may enhance our accuracy in predicting employee behaviors that have been difficult to predict in past research. 2. Degree of ambivalence in an employees attitude may have both desirable and undesirableIMPLICATIONS consequences. FOR 3. The need to expand our research beyond our past RESEARCH focus on top-down organizational change. AND 4. Employee responses to change may evolve over PRACTICE time, and paying attention to this evolution might yield insights about how to manage change initiatives successfully. 5. Scholars who wish to understand the full range of individual responses to proposed organizational changes should assess those responses along multiple dimensions.
CONCLUSION A CHALLENGEHelping organization members to reap thebenefits of ambivalence toward change fororganizations while minimizing itspotentially stressful effects for individuals.