Managers need not abandon planned change in the face of resistance. Before recommending specific approaches to overcome resistance, there are three key conclusions that should be kept in mind. First, an organization must be ready for change. Second, the top management should inform the employees about the process of change. Third, the employees perceptions or interpretations of a change should be considered.
The following methods of overcoming-resistance to change are as follows:
- Participation: Participation is generally considered the most effective technique for overcoming resistance to change. Employees who take part in planning and implementing change are better able to understand the reasons for the change than those who are not involved. They become committed to the change and make it work. Employees who have the opportunity to express their own ideas and to understand the perspectives of others are likely to accept change gracefully. It is a time consuming process.
- Education and Communication: Educating employees about the need for and the expected results of an impending change help reduce their resistance. Managers should maintain an open channel of communication while planning and implementing change. However, it is also a time consuming process.
- Facilitation of Change: Knowing ahead of lime that employees are likely to resist change then the manager should do as much as possible to help them cope with uncertainly and feeling of loss. Introducing change gradually, making only necessary changes, announcing changes in advance and allowing time for people to adjust to new ways of doing things can help reduce resistance.
- Force-Field Analysis: In almost any situation where a change is being planned, there are forces acting for and against the change. In force-field analysis, the manager list each set of forces and then try to remove or minimize some of the forces acting against the change.
- Negotiation: Where someone or some group will clearly lose out in a change and where that group has considerable power to resist, there negotiation is required. Sometimes it is a relatively easy way to avoid major resistance.
- Manipulation and Cooperation: This is followed when other tactics will not work or are too expensive. It can be quick and inexpensive, However, it can lead to further problems if people feel manipulated.
- Explicit and Implicit Coercion: This is adopted where speed is essential and where the change initiators possess considerable power. It is speedy and can overcome resistance.
Each of the above methods has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no universal strategy for overcoming resistance to change. Hence, an organization that plans to introduce certain changes must be prepared to face resistance from its employees. An organization should also have a planned approach to overcome such resistances.
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