Are you resistant to change?

Written for Bloomfield Harris Workplace Wellbeing published on 20 February 2019.

Are you resistant to change?

Change in an organisation is inevitable. Changes can be small such as introducing new technology or a policy, or they can be big for example relocating or merging with another company. One aspect of my work is to support you and your employees with managing change.

In this blog we will explore ways you can identify employees who are more likely to resist change:

  • Personality identifiers
  • Behavioural identifiers

Personality identifiers

Vakola et al. (2004) used the Big 5 personality theory to identify who would see change as positive and who would see change as negative in the workplace. They found those who saw change as negative were less:

  • extraverted
  • agreeable
  • conscientious
  • open to new experiences
  • Emotionally intelligent

You can take the Big 5 test here.

Oreg (2003) also identifed the following psychological tendancies in people who saw change as negative:

  • Prefer routine
  • Easily stressed
  • Thinks in the short term
  • Cognitively rigid i.e. fixed ideas, not flexible in thinking

Find out how resistant to change you are here with Oreg’s test.

Behavioural identifiers

Oreg’s research has also found that the following are signs of resistant employees.

  • Late for work
  • Absenteeism
  • Missing or late to commitments i.e. meetings
  • Decrease in productivity
  • Less interest in work
  • Negative comments in meetings
  • Fewer comments in meetings

Change management expert Torben Rick also suggests being aware of:

  • Employees who’ve been with the organisation for a long time
  • Those being asked to make significant skill changes
  • Those who have low trust in the organisation
  • Employees who feel their competence is being questioned
  • Those who’s routine is most disrupted
  • Those who see change as a fad
  • Employees with vulnerable mental health
  • Key employees if they’ve not been consulted with

The Diffusion of Innovations theory also identifies employees who are risk adverse, less open to new ideas and prefer routines as more likely to resist change.

Why is this useful?

If you can identify who is most likely to resist change then it enables you to act and minimise the consequences of resistance. As mentioned above there are many ways an employee’s behaviour can change, all of which will have a negative impact on the organisation. In addition, an individual may resist on their own but there’s also a chance the minority view can become the majority view leading to overt or covert sabotage.

If your organisation is going through change or about to embark on change why not get in touch to see what support I can offer. or call 07841 528105.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s