Wednesday, September 05, 2012

What do we do when we resist change?

In my last post, I summarized the results of the study just from the abstract.  Here are the models that the research found for the two kinds of employees:

Operational Workers:
  1. Biggest concerns:  
    • need to spend more time and effort on the new system
    • loss of autonomy because of constraints imposed by the new system
    • loss of job because the new system automates it
  2. Behaviors done in response:
    • expressed their negative feelings about the new system to coworkers
    • make careless mistakes and blaming the new system
    • made little effort to learn the new system
    • didn't participate/try hard in training for the new system
  3. Best management intervention: Directive management strategies
    • explain why the organization needs the change
    • explain how the change affects their job
    • THEN training
Managerial Workers:
  1. Biggest concerns:  
    • don't see how the new system will help their unit
    • worry that their unit will be less responsive because of constraints imposed by the new system
    • worry that the new system will reduce their agility for future changes in the business environment
    • these are all made worse when their operational workers complain or misbehave
  2. Behaviors done in response:
    • expressed their negative feelings about the new system to upper mgmt in meetings
    • propose changes to the new system that are needed for their unit (which delays implementation)
    • find data to "prove" that the new system is negative for their unit
  3. Best management intervention: Participative management strategies
    • involve them up front in the decision and implementation planning
    • provide information on the business case
    • provide guidance in how to manage their operational employees
  • Note that neither group benefits from coercive management intervention strategies !!
So is this what you predicted they would find?  Is this how you deal with it in your organization?

Let me know.

Resistance to change and business information systems

I was reading about a study on the challenges companies face when implementing new business information systems from employees who are resistant to the change.  One of the basic findings summarized in the abstract is this difference:
  • the tendency for operational employees to resist new business IS is due to the way they perceive it will impact their personal performance and status.  If it takes more time/effort, reduces job security, reduces their power, limits their empowerment, they will resist.
  • the tendency for managers to resist is more related to their perception of how it will impact the company's performance.  
 I am not sure I agree with this, but I will hold off judgment until I read the details of the survey.  I suspect that the managers are also concerned about their own performance and status.  It is just that their performance is measured using broader company metrics.  I don't think it is because they are more altruistic and care about the company more than they care about themselves, at least as compared to the operational workers.

More later when I read the rest.  But if you have any instinctive opinions on this I would appreciate your input.