Title: Manufacturing managers' perceptions of resistance to change: an empirical study

Authors: Dianne Waddell, Amrik S. Sohal

Addresses: Department of Management, Monash University, P.O. Box 197, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia. ' Department of Management, Monash University, P.O. Box 197, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia

Abstract: This paper reports the findings of a survey that investigates management|s perceptions of resistance in manufacturing organisations. Manufacturing organisations have faced a mandate for change for some time now. Industry leaders and government heads have repeatedly called for efficiency increases, productivity improvements and general industry reform, such that businesses can remain competitive in the international market-place. However, managing a major change effort is a complex task and examples of successful change efforts have been few and far between. Resistance has been identified as a critical aspect in the process of change, an aspect that can significantly influence both positive and negative outcomes. To this end, approximately 250 companies were surveyed throughout Australia with the objective of clarifying how resistance to change is understood by managers and the effects this approach may have on their methods of change management. The results indicate that resistance is predominantly viewed adversarially by manufacturing managers as an impediment to change that must be removed – a problem that must be overcome if the organisation is to achieve successful change. We conclude, however, that this approach may in fact be inappropriate. Rather, a more conciliatory response is suggested that looks to evaluate and possibly utilise resistance in an effort to achieve successful organisational change.

Keywords: resistance to change; change management; organisational change; Australia; manufacturing management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.1999.030142

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 1999 Vol.9 No.1, pp.76 - 87

Published online: 11 Dec 2009 *

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