B. Overcoming Resistance To Change - Motivation Theory

1. Six tactics used by change agents in dealing with resistance to change:


2. Education and communication:

  • Resistance can be reduced through communicating to help employees see the logic of a change. The assumption is that the source of resistance lies in misinformation or poor communication.

  • It works provided that the source of resistance is inadequate communication and that management-employee relations are characterized by mutual trust and credibility.

3. Participation:

  • It is difficult for individuals to resist a change decision in which they participated.

  • Prior to making a change, those opposed can be brought into the decision process, assuming they have the expertise to make a meaningful contribution.

  • The negatives—the potential for a poor solution and great time consumption.


4. Facilitation and support:

  • Employee counseling and therapy, new-skills training, or a short paid leave of absence may facilitate the adjustment. The drawbacks—it is time-consuming, expensive, and its implementation offers no assurance of success.

5. Negotiation:

  • Negotiation as a tactic may be necessary when resistance comes from a powerful source.

  • It has potentially high costs, and there is the risk that the change agent is open to the possibility of being blackmailed by other individuals in positions of power.

6. Manipulation and cooptation:

  • Manipulation refers to “covert influence attempts, twisting and distorting facts to make them appear more attractive, withholding undesirable information, and creating false rumors to get employees to accept a change.”

  • Cooptation is “a form of both manipulation and participation.” It seeks to “buy off” the leaders of a resistance group by giving them a key role in the change decision.

  • Both manipulation and cooptation are relatively inexpensive and easy ways to gain support. The tactics can backfire if the targets become aware that they are being tricked or used.

7. Coercion:

  • This is “the application of direct threats or force upon the resisters.”

  • Examples of coercion are threats of transfer, loss of promotions, negative performance evaluations, and a poor letter of recommendation.

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