Essays on The Ethical Implications of Resistance to Change Coursework

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The paper "The Ethical Implications of Resistance to Change" is a great example of management coursework.   It is an accepted fact that the only predictable feature of the business environment is that it is dynamic and will keep changing. For this reason, business organisations have to adopt changes to remain competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing environment. In this case, organisational change encompasses changes to an organisation’ s structure, culture, strategies, technologies, and means of operations owing to changes in the business environment (Dawson, 2003). Lewin (1947) noted that organisations go through three vital stages when it comes to changes; unfreezing, changing, and refreezing.

It is worth noting that firms might face significant levels of resistance as they transition through each of the three enumerated changes. The purpose of this essay is to find reasons why change is demonised or resisted in organisations. The paper will also discuss the correlation between power and resistance and highlight the ethics of management and resistant positions. Finally, the essay will assess how managerial and resistance positions affect an organisation’ s ability to implement an effective change management programme. In as much as change is critical to the well-being of organisations, individuals across the different managerial levels often resist change.

Bodell (2014) examined the issue of resistance and noted that there were three factors that lead to the resisting of change. One of the factors was change fatigue, a scenario that occurs when individuals get tired of previous change initiatives that did not work. The fatigue creates resistance in the segments of the organisation that will work with proposed changes on a day to day basis.

Bodell (2014) proposes the simplification of change programmes and a focus on the middle levels of the organisation as the way to mitigate change fatigue. The second factor that causes the resistance to change is the mindset of individuals. This factor encompasses elements such as the fear that individuals will not cope with change. Individuals and teams develop habits and become overly reliant on current practices (Singh 2009). This leads to a decision to resist change with a view to mitigating the risks associated with different technologies, cultures, organisational structures, and business strategies.

Bodell (2014) notes that this mindset creates leaders who focus on any negative aspects of proposed changes instead of looking at the many benefits that will come from change. Assumptions at the organisational and individual levels are also responsible for change resistance. It is an accepted fact that organisations develop distinct hierarchies, practices, rules, and power structures over time. This creates the assumption that the firm can only meet its objectives by following existing processes and maintaining the same relationships between teams. These assumptions prevent the organisation from recognising that it can achieve better performance by adopting change.

However, this resistance should not be ignored by change agents since the same groups will play a key role in the implementation of change. As stated, the changing business environment forces businesses to implement changes to remain relevant. In such a scenario, change agents develop the view that any form of resistance is problematic due to the view that resistance will harm the prospects of the organisation. Thomas & Hardy (2011) acknowledge that this view has persisted in organisational change literature for a long time.

Jabri (2012) offers a different perspective on resistance by noting that those who resist change often have positive intentions. In the case of the assumptions, individuals in an organisation might truly believe that organisational change will impact the competitiveness of the business. Anderson (2011) supports this view by noting that resistance is a healthy and natural part of the process of organisational change. Furthermore, Anderson notes that those who resist change can end up being the individuals who advance change efforts and strengthen the overall transformation of organisations. This leads to the conclusion that resistance should not be viewed as a problematic issue but as an opportunity to identify weaknesses in proposed changes.

References

Anderson, A. (2011). Engaging resistance: How ordinary people successfully champion change. Stanford University Press.

Bodell, L. (2014). Why Organizations Resist Change. Big Think. Retrieved 15 October 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZFiN00QALE

Broadbridge, D., & Education, G. S. (2015). Qantas: HSC business Case study, volume 15. New York, NY: Get Smart Education Pty. Limited.

Burnes, B. (2012). Leadership and Change: The Case for Greater Ethical Clarity. Journal of Business Ethics, 108(2), 239-252.

Dawson, P. (2003). Understanding Organizational Change: The Contemporary Experience of People at Work. Sage

Douglas, F. (2011). Between a rock and a hard place: Resistance and the formation of professional identity. International Journal of Educational and Vocational Guidance, 11 (3), 163-173

Erkama, N. (2010). Power and resistance in a multinational organisation. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 26, 151-165

Jabri, M. (2012). Managing organizational change: Process, social construction and dialogue. Palgrave Macmillan.

Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in Group Dynamics: Concept, Method, and Reality in Social Science. Human Relation, 1, 5-41.

Singh, K. (2009). Organisation Change and Development. New Delhi: Excel Books India

Thomas, R. & Hardy, C. (2011). Reframing resistance to organisational change. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 27, 322-331

Winstanley, D., & Woodall, J. (2000). The ethical dimension of human resource management. Human Resource Management Journal, 10(2), 5-20.

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