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Measuring resistance to change: an instrument and its application

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journal contribution
posted on 05.06.2017, 02:54 by Waddell, Dianne, Sohal, Amrik S.
Much research has been undertaken with the assumption that resistance adversely affects a change process. Strategies devised from this perspective often approach resistance adversarially, attempting to circumvent or negate its impact. However, recent research has identified that despite this predominantly negative perception, resistance has also been used to successfully implement many changes in organizations. This paper highlights the need to identify and measure resistance prior to an organizational change effort. Resistance by nature is complex, and its potential to negatively impact change is greatly exacerbated by managers applying a simple set of assumptions when encountering it (Kotter and Schlesinger 1979). By accurately gauging resistance in advance, implementers of change can anticipate the likely response of the organization and thus implement appropriate strategies. To this end, an instrument has been designed that identifies and measures resistance in an organization. The instrument is utilized in a manufacturing organization and the results show that it provides a valid and reliable measure of resistance and is able to accurately identify the likely nature of resistance generally, as well as individual pockets that belie a peculiar stance not indicative of the organization as a whole.


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Working paper series (Monash University. Department of Management).

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