Resistance in HROs, setback or resource?

  • Binci D
  • Cerruti C
  • Donnarumma S
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Purpose - The purpose of this article is to analyse the role of resistance at team level in a change project focused on the maintenance activities of a high reliability organisation (HRO) that operates in the electricity distribution field. Design/methodology/approach - A grounded theory is built, analysing a large dataset of material (project reports, processes descriptions, internal memos and presentations), direct observation and semi-structured interviews. Findings - The paper documents a model where resistance has evolved over time. Differentiated responses to change of employees during the project and also different forms of resistance are observed. The outcome of the analysis shows the positive role of mindful inertia in the change project. Research limitations/implications - Outcomes are, by the nature of the research, deeply rooted in the context and the study is focused on a specific service of an organisation that is high reliability-oriented. Future studies should look at whether these insights are also relevant for other organisations. Practical implications - Mindful inertia can prove useful in achieving better performances in implementing change. Originality/value - With respect to the existing literature, the paper shows that in HROs acceptance of change and mindful resistance to that change interacts to improve the outcome process. Resistance, under certain conditions, can provide the very insights needed to implement change.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Change management
  • Energy industry
  • Group dynamics
  • High reliability organizations
  • Italy
  • Public utility
  • Resistance to change
  • Team dynamics

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  • Daniele Binci

  • Corrado Cerruti

  • Stefano Antonio Donnarumma

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