Employees have the capacity to learn new ways of working which includes learnings of new processes and technologies (Bramley, 1989; Carnevale et al., 1990; Goldstein, 1993; Harrison, 1995; Bennet et al., 1999, quoted in Whelan-Berry and Somerville, 2010, p. 184). Thus, the resistance that employees display is perhaps not driven by the necessity to learn a new process. It can also be argued that the learning of a new process is a career development opportunity that employees at not wish to miss. Therefore, I believe that the root cause of their resistance may stem from a perceived threat arising from the change.
It is possible that one’s operating environment can so materially change that an organisation would have to re-evaluate its business model in order to survive. You discussed in your KCE, implications of the fast food legislation, which in my opinion, is a very good example of a material change in the operating environment. As Sharma (2011) stated, automation is prevalent across industries and organisations must be cost effective in order to survive.
thus, there is an argument that material changes to the operating environment may require additional investment in order to allow the organisation to be competitive, particularly if the assets it presently possesses are obsolete following the operating environment change. However, the shareholders would yield considerable influence on the management’s decision to pursue the required investment.
It is plausible that the shareholders may reasonably expect operating cost reductions following significant investment. It is in this context that employees feel threatened, as there may well be an expectation that the organisation will now automate certain processes and be obligated to reduce operating costs. Therefore, there is a risk of job losses via redundancies which may explain the employees’ resistance to accepting the change.
Mayfield (2014) discusses the importance of integrity and trust in the context of change management. The possession of these qualities is admirable and can potentially mitigate some of the resistance the employees may display towards the change. However, there is no clear solution of how leaders should manage a change process where there would be inevitable redundancies, as such transformations are likely to encounter heavy resistance at every stage.
Do you believe that the risk of job losses is a key component of employee resistance or is it simply an underlying behavioural response when confronted with change?
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