Title: Measuring resistance to change: an instrument and its application

Authors: Dianne Waddell, Amrik S. Sohal

Addresses: Department of Management, Monash University, Wellington Road, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia. ' Department of Management, Monash University, Wellington Road, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia

Abstract: Much research has been undertaken with the assumption that resistance adversely affects a change process. Strategies devised from this perspective often approach resistance in an adversarial manner, 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 organisations. This paper highlights the need to identify and measure resistance prior to an organisational 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. By accurately gauging resistance in advance, implementers of change can anticipate the likely response of the organisation and thus implement appropriate strategies. To this end, an instrument has been designed that identifies and measures resistance in an organisation. The instrument is utilised in a manufacturing organisation 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 organisation as a whole.

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

DOI: 10.1504/IJBPM.1999.004468

International Journal of Business Performance Management, 1999 Vol.1 No.4, pp.353 - 367

Published online: 01 May 2004 *

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