Employee Resistance to Change

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Employee Resistance to Change

Comparison and Introduction of the two Journal Articles

In John and Baird’s Journal of Workplace Planning, change management entails the continuous review and renewal of organization’s structure, directions, and capabilities in order to meet the market demand (John and Baird, 2000, p. 69). In the journal, John and Baird discusses the shift of change management from transition itself to the people facing the change together with its impact on the core drivers of work behavior namely identity, purpose, and mystery. As per them, change management is not all about managing change but rather about managing people. On the other hand, Cynthia’s Od Practitioner article shows that most change initiatives fail. In general, employee resistance is the major cause of unsuccessful change initiatives. Different factors influence employees’ reactions to change. It goes beyond any reasonable doubt that workers react differently to change either negatively or positively. In this essence, it is crucial to distinguish between the causes and symptoms of their reactions. (Cynthia, 2012, p. 23). This paper provides a critical analysis report of the concepts presented in the two journals by the authors.


Critical Analysis

John and Baird’s Journal Analysis

John, M. W. & Baird, B. K., 2000. Leading organizational change. Journal of Workplace Learning, 12(2), pp. 66-74.

In John and Baird’s journal, change strikes at the hearts of work behavior in terms of identity, purpose, and mystery. In an organization, the workforce is goal-oriented and desire to achieve valuable results. In case change violates their sense of purpose, employees resist that change. Also, employees demand a sense of consistency and integrity over time. Introducing a change that creates either internal or external pressure to a personnel’s identity is highly resisted (John & Baird, 2000, p. 68). However, implementation of a change that activates people’s identity motivates them to accept change. Further, workplace survival of an employee matter in change management. If a change threatens employees’ sense of mystery, this is perceived as threat to their positions and survival in the workplace.

However, based on John and Baird’s experience and research on organizations that have initiated successful change programs; change exhibits various attributes. Change is not linear, and features endless and ambitious goals. The effective interweaving of multiple improvement efforts that range from customer focus, work processes improvement and strengthening of workers involvement reduces resistance to change (John & Baird, 2000, p. 69). Embracing both bottom-up and top-down communication approaches makes change reasonable. A profound organizational change initiative creates more opportunities for employees to adjust their values, beliefs, and goals. Also, effective quantification and measurement of change progresses is vital to successful and sustainable change.

John and Baird believe that change management is vital in organizational success. Effective change management requires a leader to understand the current issue, find out the right state, design a change plan, enlist others, track and stabilize results. While this process is vital, leading a change requires a manager to possess the attributes of leading by action, creation of an environment in which change prevails, interaction with the team, and ability to frame change in terms of organizational results (John & Baird, 2000, p. 72). Finally, involvement of all people when trying change helps in reducing its resistance and upgrading work behaviors.

Cynthia’s Journal Analysis

Cynthia, W., 2012. Employees’ Reactions to Organizational Change. Od Practitioner, 44(2), pp. 23-28.

According to Cynthia, a number of factors influence employee’s reactions to change. Change process entails moving from the known to the unknown. Due to this, employees’ reactions to change are obvious. While this is vital, the symptoms of employee reactions to change must be accessed effectively in order to understand the causes behind such. Employee communication, cognition and emotion, and participation in decision making are the main factors that influence their reactions to change (Cynthia, 2012, p. 23). Most change initiatives collapse due to the underestimation of individual importance and cognition by managers. Emotional intelligence creates a mutual recognition of feelings, emotions, and motivations. Irrational thoughts are significantly correlated with employees’ resistance to change.

Employee attitudes on the change also affect its viability in the workplace. Negative attitudes towards change by an employee makes them resist change, hence making the initiative fail. In this matter, excellent communication approaches are called for to resolve this problem. Leader-member communication aspect is more profound in establishing a positive employee attitude towards change (Cynthia, 2012, p. 25). Also, participation of workers in decision making strongly impacts their ability to accept change systems in the workplace. Another aspect of change is defense mechanisms that involuntarily arise from employees in response to perceptions of danger foreseen in change initiatives. Workers who unconsciously embrace adaptive defenses resist change.

In her studies, Cynthia notes that operationalizing definitions of reactions to change effectively enable change agents in identifying workers’ resistance and acceptance to change. Resistance involves the multidimensional attitude against change (Cynthia, 2012, p. 26). Employees’ evaluate the worth or benefit of the change, have mixed feelings about change, and behave differently when it comes to either accepting of resisting the change. In some companies, employees accept change but passively give into these change initiatives. For other firms, workers accept change and actively support the change initiatives.



In summary, it is difficult to achieve maximum acceptance or attain minimal resistance within the workplace. The spectrum needs to get traversed to ensure that the level of resistance and acceptance by an employee does not fluctuate during the change implementation period. Businesses need to be proactive in implementing organizational change initiatives in order to remain competitive in this competitive business world. The proper understanding of employees’ roles, their attitudes, and attributes by agents leads to successful change implementation.


Cynthia, W., 2012. Employees’ Reactions to Organizational Change. Od Practitioner, 44(2), pp. 1-6.

John, M. W. & Baird, B. K., 2000. Leading organizational change. Journal of Workplace Learning, 12(2), pp. 1-9.



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