The Six (6) Change Approaches of Kotter and Schlesinger is a model to prevent,
decrease or minimize resistance to change in organizations.
Reasons for resistance to change
According to Kotter and Schlesinger (1979), there are four reasons that
certain people are resisting change:
Parochial self-interest. Some people are more concerned with the
implication of the change for themselves and how it may affect their own
interests, rather than considering the effects for the success of the business.
Misunderstanding. Communication problems; inadequate information.
Low tolerance of change. Certain people are very keen on feeling
secure and having stability in their work.
Different assessments of the situation. Some employees may disagree
with the reasons for the change and with the advantages and disadvantages
of the change process.
Six approaches to deal with resistance to change
Kotter and Schlesinger have set out the following six (6) change approaches
to deal with change resistance:
Education and Communication. Where there is a lack of information
or inaccurate information and analysis. One of the best ways to overcome
resistance to change is: to inform and educate people about the change effort
beforehand. Preceding communication and education helps employees see the
logic in the change effort. This reduces unfounded and incorrect rumors
concerning the effects of change in the organization.
Participation and Involvement. Where the initiators do not have
all the necessary information to design the change, and where others have
considerable power to resist. When employees are involved in the change
effort they are more likely to want change rather than resist it. This approach
is likely to decrease resistance of those, who merely acquiesce in the change.
Facilitation and Support. Where people are resisting change, because
of adjustment problems. By being supportive of employees during difficult
times, managers can prevent potential resistance. Managerial support helps
employees to deal with their fear and anxiety during a transition period.
The basis of resistance to change is likely to be: the perception that there
will be some form of detrimental effect occasioned by the change in the
organization. Typical for this approach are special training and counseling,
outside normal office premises.
Negotiation and Agreement. Where someone or some group may lose
out because of a change, and where that individual or group has considerable
power to resist. Managers can combat resistance by offering incentives to
employees not to resist change. This can be done by allowing people who
are resisting the change to veto certain elements of change that are threatening.
Or the people who are resisting the change can be offered incentives to
leave the company through early buyouts or through retirements. In order
to avoid the experience of the change effort. This approach will be appropriate
where those resisting change are in a position of power.
Manipulation and Co-optation. Where other tactics will not work
or are too expensive. Kotter and Schlesinger suggest that an effective manipulation
technique is: to co-opt with people who are resisting the change. Co-optation
involves bringing a person into a change management planning group for the
sake of appearances rather than their substantive contribution. This often
involves selecting leaders of the people who are resisting the change, to
participate in the change effort. These leaders can be given a symbolic
role in decision-making, without threatening the change effort. Note this:
if these leaders feel that they are being tricked, they are likely to push
resistance even further than if they were never included in the change effort
Explicit and Implicit Coercion. Where speed is essential. And
to be used only as last resort. Managers can explicitly or implicitly force
employees into accepting change, by making clear that resistance to change
can lead to: jobs losses, dismissals, employee transfers, or not promoting
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Compare with the Six (6) Change Approaches:
Change Phases |
Contingency Theory |
Organization Cultures |
| Core Group Theory
| Bases of Social
| Planned Behavior
| Business Process Reengineering
| Kaizen |
| Change Management
of Change |
4 Dimensions of
Relational Work |
Levels of Culture
of Strategy Management |
Causal Model of Organizational Performance
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Human Resources |
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