Barriers to change – factors that resist change

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What are the factors that resist change

There are many factors (also called barriers to change) which may resist change initiatives in any organisations. Without a good understanding of those factors, change implementation can be a very difficult task. This mini article will focus on some of the most dominant barriers to change.

  • Employees in an organisation may resist a proposed change for a number of reasons. For example, loss of security, fear of economic loss, loss of power and control, reluctance to change old habits, and selective perception are some of the reasons.
  • Job stability is an important concern for many employees. Therefore, when a change is proposed, employees might feel that they would lose their job stability due to the change. This feeling may lead to a strong resistance to change.
  • Fear of economic loss is another factor. For example, a proposed new system may lead to a less number of working hours for employees. Some employees may find their salary reduced due to the new system. Consequently, they will resist change in order to avoid potential economic loss.
  • A proposed change in organisational structure may drive some employees to have a feeling of loss of power and control. Many people are not usually ready to lose their power and control. Therefore, a resistance to change is inevitable.
  • Changing old habits is not an easy thing. A change may mean that employees need to change their old ways of doing work. It is very difficult for many people to come out of their comfort zone. The end result is a resistance to change.
  • Selective perception is also barrier to change. Managers and employees may not see things from different perspectives. They all have their own perception and will see things the way they want. A change may bring about a lot of benefits for the employees and the managers. However, some people may not see it that way.

Changes are sometimes difficult to implement. Therefore, the barriers to change must be identified so that appropriate remedies can be employed. A number of techniques may be very useful to implement a change programme. The article titled as ‘How to implement a change’ contain more information.

The article publication date: 06 September 2016

Further reading/References

Plunkett, W. & Attner, R. (1994) Introduction to Management. 5th edition, USA: International Thomson Publishing

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Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online with an emphasis on business management and marketing. He is a graduate of both Leeds Metropolitan University and London South Bank University.