Managing resistance to change Essay

Part I –  It is of paramount importance to acknowledge that the appropriateness and effectiveness of different approaches to managing resistance to change rely on particularities of every organization. With regard to the nursing team situation, the three approaches that can facilitate and accelerate change are education and communication, participation, and negotiation.

First of all, it is necessary to provide an overview of all the approaches to managing resistance to change. They are as follows: 1) education and communication, appropriate when resistance results from insufficient or inaccurate information; 2) participation, appropriate when resistance is associated with people suffering from the lack of information or when they have the power to resist; 3) facilitation and support, appropriate when change is to the detriment of power-holders; 4) negotiation, appropriate when resistance comes from a powerful source; 5) manipulation and co-optation, appropriate when another approach is unlikely to be effective or is financially unfeasible; and 6) coercion, appropriate when change has to happen quickly and agents of change are powerful.

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While such approaches as manipulation and cooptation can be less costly are more rapid, their long-term effects on employee relations can be detrimental. On the contrary, the selected approaches to managing change have added value for the organization. Education and communication can enhance the communication flow and stimulate employees to take ownership of change. Participation can generate trust and increase employees’ motivation. In case of negotiation, good relations between management and so-called ‘opinion leaders’ among employees can make other daily activities of an organization run smoothly.

Part II – 1) Education and communication: This approach to managing resistance to change is heavily based on the paradigm of Organizational development. The two strategies rest on virtually the same premises, such as the need to show respect for employees, treat them with dignity, develop an open and supportive climate, decentralize authority and control, acknowledge and promptly solve existing problems, and encourage employees to take responsibility for organization’s performance.

A plan for implementing this approach should include meetings between employees and management with a view to communicate change, group discussion concerning the direction of change and the most effective ways to carry it on, effective mechanisms for continuous feedback and input from employees, less formal relations between employees and management, and participatory decision making.

2) Participation: This approach can be effectively integrated with Kotter’s Eight-Step Plan for Implementing Change. The eight steps suggested in the model correctly reflect the dynamics of involvement of employees in decision making. First of all, management has to communicate a sense of urgency and a crucial role of employees in implementing change. Secondly, a coalition of ‘opinion leaders’ should be formed. These ‘opinion leaders’ can work together with management on a new vision to direct the change; furthermore, they can communicate it throughout the organization faster than management can. They can also serve as role models for other employees to engage in decision making and creative problem solving. They are likely to support the change and to communicate a feeling of pride for success of the change.

3) Negotiation: If ‘opinion leaders’ are too powerful and resistant to change, this approach is optimal. It is based on Lewin’s Three-Step Model: unfreezing the status quo implies suggesting a compromise to ‘opinion leaders’, movement to a new state implies reaching the settlement, and refreezing the new change implies enforcing the agreement so that ‘opinion leaders’ fulfill their obligations with regard to supporting change.


Robbins, S. P. (2004). Managing Resistance to Change. In Robbins, S. P., Organizational Behavior, 11th Ed. (pp. 615-616). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.



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