Resistance to Reorganization

Resistance to reorganization can be greater when...

  • The purpose of the reorganization is not clear. When employees don't understand why changes are implemented, anxiety and suspicion often fill the information vacuum.
  • The employees do not see a need for the change. Even if employees understand the reasons for change they may disagree with management's perspective and not agree that is needed.
  • The employees are not involved in the planning. People support what they helped create. If employees do not believe they have enough input in planning change, resistance may increase.
  • Communication regarding the reorganization is poor. Even if the change affects only one other person, communication can be easily distorted.
  • Key people in the organization are not seen as really advocating the change. If employees believe their boss or other important individuals/groups don't support the change, acceptance is difficult to secure.
  • The employees perceive a negative impact on their social relations. If employees view the change as adversely affecting the way they relate to people significant to them, acceptance is reduced.
  • Key job characteristics are changed. Employees will be more resistant to the change if they believe it will decrease their autonomy, the level of challenge the job offers, the type of feedback they receive, or the degree of importance the organization places on their jobs.
  • The employees have been exposed to a long history of poorly-executed changes. If the employees believe that the organization is involved in another ill-planned reorganization, their enthusiasm will be greatly diminished.
  • The employees fear failure. Change involves learning and learning usually involves mistakes; when people are not given the freedom to make mistakes while learning, they may be afraid and easily discouraged.
  • The employees lack confidence in their capacity to implement the change, or in management's commitment to the training they need.
  • Excessive pressure is involved. When employees are already feeling overworked, the additional pressure brought on by the change may create resistance.
  • Employees perceive that organizational objectives of the change and their own personal goals are incompatible. Resistance is increased if employees believe the change will block or significantly restrict the achievement of their own personal ambitions.