Minimizing Resistance to Change through Discussions

When as many as possible of those people involved in a change  understand as much as possible about it and its consequences, resistance is likely  to be reduced. It is management’s job to develop this understanding. Resistance  will be prevented to the degree that the change agent help the change affected  people to develop their own understanding of the need for change, and an  explicit awareness of how they feel about it and what can be done about their  feelings. Such an understanding will occur only when the information provided  is sufficient, factual and accurate.

Minimizing Resistance to Change through Discussions

Management can transmit information about a  proposed change and its probable consequences to those affected or concerned  in a variety of ways. Fundamentally, there are only three practical media for  communication; written material, audio-visual and oral. No single means,  however, should be relied on exclusively. The more complex the change, the  greater will be the possibility. That everyone involved is being reached with  maximum of information. Several conditions must be met for understanding to  be developed in a changing situation.

  • Information must be readily accessible, factual and accurate.
  • Information must be communicated in such language or in such a form  that is readily understandable.
  • Information must answer the questions that are being asked not only  what is to happen, but also how, why, when, where and to whom.
  • There must be a way to test and conform that real understanding has in  fact been achieved.

A lack of understanding can result in heightened anxiety about the  possible consequences of change. This, in turn, can result in resistant behavior.  In addition, it is likely that, because of this lack, those performing the work will  derive less satisfaction from their jobs. This should be of concern to  management, particularly during a change. When people do not understand what  they are doing, those abilities, which are uniquely human cannot be exercised.  These abilities are the application of informed and intelligent judgments to the  performance of work. When anyone is deprived of the opportunity to make  meaningful judgments, the result is increasing frustration. Not only will both the  person and the work suffer, but so also will the organization.

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