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Overcoming Resistance to Change: Causal Factors, Interventions, and Critical Values

by John C. Bruckman
The Psychologist-Manager Journal ()

Abstract

A generation has grown up since the scientist and novelist C. P. Snow wrote that until his century, social change was so slow it would pass unnoticed in one person‘s lifetime. That is no longer so. The rate of change has increased so much that our imagination can’t keep up (Toffler, 1970). Two of the most critical elements of leadership are the introduction and management of change. Most organizations rise or fall based on how well they manage the introduction of change and the control of uninvited changes in their environment. Leaders must fully understand the change process to move their organizations successfully through the turmoil of today’s economic environment. Many organizations, faced with a lack of or diminishing resources, find increasing pressure on their leadership to proactively respond to planned and unplanned changes. A primary determinant of the future success of an organization is its leadership’s ability to assimilate change, then formulate and articulate a clear vision, accompanied by implementation of succinct strategic goals and objectives. Many leaders rely on instinct and experience rather than on a full understanding of the change process. Some, out of fear of change, resist the inevitable transformation of their organization. This tends to put the organization at risk when facing unanticipated as well as planned change.

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