Understanding needed to overcome resistance to change

By Audrey Pihulyk
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/29/2002

“Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change — this is the rhythm of living. Out of our overconfidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress,” to quote Bruce Barton, turn-of-the-century U.S. writer, advertising guru and politician. This statement, while profound, also captures the very essence of the process of change with its uncertainty, fear, trepidation, hope and eventual progress. Those in the throes of change may view it differently — from the visionaries who spearhead the process, to those who naturally resist any type of change.

Organizations implementing change may find that some individuals will be uncomfortable with the change and this will bring about resistance. If not understood and carefully dealt with, the resistance may cause a fair amount of tension and conflict undermining any positive outcome.

For individuals, purposes and production in life revolve around three major needs: to be respected, to be viewed as competent and to belong. These needs are the motivators affecting decisions to accept or resist change. These decisions are made through examining facts, looking at belief systems and deciding how one feels about the change.