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Employee Resistance To Organizational Change: A Case Study Of Telenor

The aim of this paper is to explore the problems of Organization change of TELENOR. Organizations frequently need to introduce changes in anticipation of future problems. Though a change process may be vital there often will be resistance to change processes from the individuals and organizations. Even though resistance to change is common, change initiators generally do not consider managing it effectively in order to make their efforts a success. Poorly managed resistance can wreck an organization. Accordingly, this study aimed to explore the nature of resistance when implementing a strategic level change in construction organizations of TELENOR. Case study approach was used to investigate the research question. A construction organization that recently implemented change at a strategic level was selected to study the nature of resistance. Data collection techniques were semi-structured in-depth interviews and participant-observation. The primary data were analyzed using content analysis and cognitive mapping techniques. The case study findings revealed significant reasons for the resistance to change in construction organizations and how these were handled in the case study organization. The results and findings reported from this study will enable construction organizations to understand the nature of resistance and manage it effectively for successful strategic change implementation.[1]

Managing resistance to change is an important part of the success of all change efforts in each company. Dealing with resistance in large part will depend on your ability to recognize the real sources or causes of resistance to change. Organizational change is an act of transformation or modification of something in your organizational system. The main purpose of this activity is to make improvements to your business performances. You can’t find a person who would like to implement change if that change process brings results with which the organization will become worse or there will not be any improvements.

Why we need Organizational Changes

An organization, business, or company is interacting with its environment. Each environmental change will affect the work and performances of the organization, and because of that, it will need to adapt itself regarding changes in the environment. So, the organizational change is the activity of differentiation or modification of the organization with the main purpose to bring improvements of overall business processes and to bring an adaptation in relation to ongoing changes in the environment. [3]

Why is there a resistance to change?

When we talk about Organizational Change we need to mention that this process isn’t simply a journey from one stage to other. You will need to pass many barriers if you want to succeed in your intentions to improve your business. One of the biggest barriers is resistance to change as an integral part of each change process. Managers will need to be aware that there will be always persons in their organizations that will resist the proposed changes. Because of that, efficiency and effectiveness of the change process will be in direct relation with resistance to change and successful managing resistance to change. The practice of managing resistance to change recognize four types of persons regarding their responses to changes. So, we can have:

  • Persons who will initiate the change process.
  • Persons who will accept the proposed change.
  • Persons who will be indifferent to the proposed change.
  • Persons who will not accept the proposed change.
  • Persons that will not belong in any of the above-mentioned categories are more likely to be resistant to proposed changes [2]

Causes of Resistance to change

It is more likely that managers will resist changes that will decrease their power and transfers it to their subordinates. In such a way, the threat of power is one of the causes of resistance to change;

The threat of power on an organizational level. With the change process, some groups, departments or sectors of the organization become more powerful. Because of that, some persons will be opposed to such a proposal or processes where they will lose their organizational power;

Losing the control by employs. The change process sometimes can reduce the level of control that managers can conduct. In such a way managers can resist the proposed changes if the change process will require reduction of their control power;

Increasing the control of the employees. Organizational changes can increase the managerial control of the employs and this process can produce employees to become resistant to such proposal proposals of change;

Economic factors. Organizational changes sometimes can be seen from the employee’s side simply as something that will decrease or increase their salary or other economic privileges that some workplace brings to them at the moment before implementation of the change process. It is normal to expect that those people who feel that they will lose the portion of their salary will resist the change.

Image, prestige, and reputation. Each workplace brings adequate image, prestige, and reputation that are important to all employees. Organizational changes can make a drastic shift in these employee’s benefits. If this is the case with the proposed change, then it will produce dissatisfaction. So, image, prestige, and reputation is one of the causes of resistance to change;

The threat of comfort. Organizational changes in many cases result in personal discomfort and make an employee’s life more difficult. They make a transfer from the comfort of the status quo to the discomfort of the new situation. Employees have the skills to do an old job without some special attention to accomplishing the task. Each new task requires forgetting the old methods of doing the job and learning new things that lead to a waste of energy and causes dissatisfaction; [4]. Job’s security. Organizational change can eliminate some workplaces, can produce technological excess, layoffs and so on. Job’s security simply is one of the causes of resistance to change;

Reallocation of resources. With organizational changes, some groups, departments or sectors of the organization can receive more resources while others will lose. So, this will bring resistance from the individuals, groups or departments who will lose some of their currently available resources.

Already gained interests of some organized groups in the company. Organizational change can make new groups more significant for the success of the organization. That’s a big threat to old coalitions that will cause resistance to change in those groups that will become more insignificant with the proposals;

Implications for personal plans. Organizational change can stop other plans, projects or other personal or family activities. In such a way this become one of the causes of resistance to change for those persons who will be reached by this change;

Too much dependence on others. In an organization, there are employees who too much depend on other individuals. This dependence is based on the current support that they receive from powerful individuals. If the change process brings the threat of that dependence, it will cause resistance to change of those persons that will be threatened by this change;

Misunderstanding the process. Organizational individuals usually resist change when they do not understand the real purpose of the proposed changes. When employees don’t understand the process, they usually assume something bad. This will cause resistance to change;

Mistrust to initiators of change. When employees don’t have trust in the initiators of the process, the process will not be accepted and this will cause resistance to change;

Different evaluation and perception. Different evaluation and perception can affect the organizational changes if there are persons who consider the proposed changes as a bad idea. Because of that, they are resistant to proposed changes.

Fear of the unknown. Organizational change, in many cases, leads to uncertainty and some dose of fear. It is normal for people to feel the fear of uncertainty. When employees feel uncertainty in a process of transformation, they think that changes are something dangerous. This uncertainty affects organizational members to resist the proposed change;

Organizational members’ habits. Employees work in large part is based on habits, and work tasks are performed in a certain way based on those habits. Organizational changes require shifts of those habits and because of that dissatisfaction from these proposals.

Previous Experience. All employees already have some experience with a previous organizational change process. So, they know that this process is not an easy process. That experience simply will tell them that most of the change processes in the past was a failure. So, this can cause resistance to change;

The threat to interpersonal relations. Employees are often friends with each other and they have a strong social and interpersonal relationship inside and outside the organization. If an organizational change process can be seen as a threat to these powerful social networks in the organization, the affected employees will resist to that change.

The weakness of the proposed changes. Sometimes proposed change might have a weakness that can be recognized by the employees. So, those employees will resist the implementation of the process until these weaknesses will not be removed or solved.

Limited resources. A normal problem in every organization is to have limited resources. When resources are limited, and with the proposed organizational changes those resources are threatened, the resistance to change is more likely to occur;

Bureaucratic inertia. Every organization has their own mechanisms as rules, policies, and procedures. Sometimes, when individuals want to change their behavior these mechanisms in many cases can resist the proposed changes;

Selective information processing. Individuals usually have selective information processing or hear only something that they want to hear. They simply ignore information that is opposite of the current situation, and with this, they don’t want to accept important aspects of the proposed changes. Because of that, appear resistance to change;

Uninformed employees. Often times employees are not provided with adequate information about organizational changes that must be implemented. And normally, this can cause resistance to change;

Peer pressure. Often, we utilize some kind of informal punishment for colleagues who support change which others don’t support. This situation can have a large impact on increasing the level of resistance to change; [5].

Skepticism about the need for change. If the problem is not a personal thing for employees, they will not see the real need why they must change themselves. Those that can’t see the need for change will have a low readiness level of the change process;

Increasing workload. In the process of organizational change, except normal working activities, employees usually will implement activities of a new change process. These increases of workloads affect appearing of resistance to change.

Short time to perform the change process. Because organizational systems are open systems and they are interactive with their environment, the need of change often comes from outside. In such a way the performing time is dictated from the outside of an organization. These situations lead to a short time for implementation of the organizational change process and cause resistance to change. [6].

A solution of Resistance to Organizational Change

The process of change is ubiquitous and employee resistance is a critically important contributor to the failure of many well-intend and well-conceived efforts to initiate change within the organization. Although leaders can’t always make people feel comfortable with change, they can minimize discomfort. Diagnosing the sources of resistance is the first step toward good solutions. And feedback from resistors can even be helpful in improving the process of gaining acceptance for change. Employees recognize and have to live through the inefficiency in transition which is what really frustrates them. When it seems to be happening all the time, you get the cry wolf scenario where it becomes very hard to convince them that *this* one is really worth the effort on their parts. We need to acknowledge this logical human mechanism. Of course, understanding doesn’t mean a person shouldn’t do it but when we help him or her out and support them facing difficulty sometimes things will be better. I recommend using especially those people to assist in steering groups to improve the process guided by the new strategy. Eventually, to get a positive attitude from the employees toward changes:

They must be informed about the reasons for the change. They should be able to understand the benefits of the change. They must know the road-map, meaning, about planned milestones. How the changes would impact my (comfort) job. Which are the risks involved? When the next change of direction will be implemented.

Eventually, a very important part of this paper is a prove of CMPs has an impression on the outcomes of organizational change programs but not on perceptual measures of organizational performance. After controlling for organizational size, change program intensity and industry sector, the use of CMPs has a positive relationship with the accomplishment of change program objectives and deadlines, and no impact on perceived organizational outcomes (changes in sales, financial results of the firm, operational productivity, and employee performance). One possible explanation for the lack of relation between CMP use and perceived organizational results is that CMPs are intentionally executed to impact the change program and not necessarily the organizational results. If the change program is the adequate response to organizational needs, and its implementation is successful, the program should impact organizational results. But if a successfully implemented change program is not the adequate response to organizational needs, the program might not produce better organizational results. In the same manner, the impact of a change program on organizational results might occur only in the long run (i.e. development of new products).

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