Managing Organisational Change

Managing Organisational Change

Q.1: Why is resistance to change frequently demonised as a problem that must be managed? (It is not how resistance is managed. It is why managers demonise resistance)

Drawing on subject material (Jabri, 2012 – Managing Organisational Change) and wider reading from the academic literature, identify and examine why change is resisted, and why resistance is problematical as something to be managed. References 10 + Peer reviewed.

Sub Headings TO BE USED:
1.1 Why do employees resist change

1.2 Managing Resistance – to include What is resistance? Why resistance happens?

1.3 Relationship between power and resistance in the context of organisational change) – to include Understanding resistance; Understanding power; Understanding the relationship between both resistance and power; (Consider both ontlogies (Scientific Objectivism and Social Constructionism) – Evaluate How do these inform the different conceptualisations of resistance and power ?)

1.4 A critical perspective, examining the relationship between power and resistance in the context of organisational change.

Q.2: What are the ethical implications of this and how else can resistance be understood?

Reflecting back on Lewin’s force-field, and referring to the diagram on page 13 – Jabri, 2012, change occurs when promoting forces increase, and resisting forces decrease. This may bring about what Myers, Hulks and Wiggins (2012) describe as “ethical conflicts” (p.320). During organisational transition, ethical conflicts “may arise for people at any level in the organization in terms, for example, of honesty, respect, responsibility, fairness, or kindness” (p. 320). People may feel the need to lie to others to prevent rumours; and may deliberately position other people unfairly in order to gain allies needed to bring about the change. Myers, Hulks and Wiggins remind us that “assessing the ethics of organizational change is problematic” (p. 321). Furthermore, dialogue, narrative and storytelling are extremely powerful and potentially manipulative ways of causing change. This brings us back to force field approaches: the forces promoting the change will represent information in one way, and those against will represent it differently; there is no singular ‘truth’ that transcends all.

Sub Headings:

2.1 What is ethics – as applied to resistance in context to organisational change

2.2 Ethical frameworks Discuss a framework and apply to the ethical issues identified arsing from the use of power and resistance

(A useful framework was developed by Woodhall, Winstanley and Heery (1996). It remains highly relevant, and is straightforward in its approach, rendering it useable by practicing change agents. The framework comprises four parts:
1. Basic rights: the right to be consulted on matters affecting the individual at work and the basic right of all employees to see and understand how employment decisions are taken.
2. Organisational Justice: fairness in treatment, equality of opportunity and equity in reward and performance decisions.
3. Universalism: ‘Do as you would be done by,’ acknowledging respect for the individual.
4. Community of Purpose: A stakeholder view that accepts there are different groups or stakeholders who are potentially advantaged or disadvantaged by organisational decisions and actions; there should not be extreme disparities of benefits in these groups.)

2.3 How does the framework apply to the ethical issues raised by the use of power and resistance – it’s not about following organisational rules.

2.3 Analyse the ethics of both the managerial and of resistant positions – Critical Analysis (Using the case method provide a practical case example from an organisation)

2.4. What are the implications of the managerial and of resistant positions for achieving an effective change management programme.


Draw conclusions that summarise your work and address the essay question.

The reason why resistance is demonised by management is because………..

The ethical implications of this are……..

Instead of resistance being viewed as a problem the alternative approach to understanding resistance is ……. (referring back to the importance of social constructionsim, use of storytelling, dialogue etc..)

Some references – APA 6 – No direct quotes please. Paraphrasing only