WORKPLACE RELATIONS SPECIALISTS 
A number of key issues have a negative impact on effective change management. 
 
Organisational issues 
Individual change initiatives are not always done as part of a wider coherent change plan. For example, a change that considers a new structure, but fails to establish the need to introduce new systems or processes to support such a structure, is less likely to succeed. 
 
Lack of effective project management and programme management disciplines can lead to slipped timings, achieving desired outcomes and ensuring that the projects do deliver as planned. Insufficient relevant training, for example in project management, change management and leadership skills, can all impact negatively on the effectiveness of any change initiative. 
 
Poor communication can be linked to achieving effective change in various ways. For example, imposed change can lead to greater employee resistance (see below). 
 
Change initiatives can also be over-managed, with too much energy spent on project management and too little on enacting change. 
 
Finally, lack of effective leadership is an inhibitor of effective change. 
 
Individual and group resistance to change 
Resistance to change can be defined as an individual or group engaging in acts to block or disrupt an attempt to introduce change. Resistance is not necessarily negative, as it may be a clear signal that the change initiative requires rethinking or reframing (see below). Resistance itself can take many different forms from subtle undermining of change initiatives and withholding of information to active resistance, such as through strikes. 
 
There are two broad types of resistance: 
Resistance to the content of change. For example to a specific change in technology, or to the introduction of a particular reward system. 
Resistance to the process of change. This concerns the way a change is introduced rather than the object of change in itself. For example, management re-structure of jobs without prior consultation of affected employees. 
 
Reasons for resistance include: loss of control, shock of the new, uncertainty, inconvenience, threat to status and competence fears. It's important not to assume that resistance is negative, and to try to diagnose the cause of employee resistance as this will help determine the focus of effort in trying to address the issue. 
 
Our Neuroscience in action research suggests that ‘resistance to change’ may in fact be a deep rooted threat response, designed to keep us safe. 
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Tagged as: Change Management
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