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Third, resistance should be viewed in the context of justice and motivation. Resistance is a form of voice, so it potentially improves procedural justice (see Chapter 5). By redirecting initial forms of resistance into constructive conversations, change agents can increase employee perceptions and feelings of fairness. Furthermore, resistance is motivational; it potentially engages people to think about
the change strategy and process. Change agents can harness that motivational force to ultimately strengthen commitment to the change initiative.WHY EMPLOYEES RESIST CHANGEChange management experts have developed a long list of reasons people do not embrace change. Some people resist change because of their personality and values.17 Aside fromthese dispositional factors, however, employees often lack the motivation or commitment^connect'Are you ready for change? Go totoidentify conditions that are holding back your readiness for a specific change initiative.
to change when they believe the change will fail, is the wrong action for the situation, or will be costly to them personally.18 This cost might be in the form of lost rewards and status, or it might represent negative consequences if they attempt to support the change. Another reason for resistance is the persons inability (or perceived inability) to change due to inadequate skills and knowledge. A third reason is that employees lack role clarity about the change. This lack of role clarity occurs when people misunderstand ormagnify what is expected of them in the future. These three factors—motivation, ability, and role (mis) perceptions—are the foundations of the six most commonly cited reasons people resist change, which are summarized here.19Direct Costs Employees lack commitment to (or even compliance with) a change initiative when their personal cost-benefit analysis calculation is negative rather than positive. They might believe the benefits for them (and possibly for the organization) are trivial (i.e., some pain for little gain). They might anticipate benefits from the change but also believe that they will be worse off overall. For example, the Malaysian government has introduced sweeping changes in which managers are expected to delegate more power and responsibility to staff. However, many governmentmanagers believe these reforms will give them less power andprestige, so they have hindered the change by delegating
responsibility slowly.Saving Face Several years ago, Rob McEwan, CEO of Goldcorp and USGold, decided to post the mining company's confidential geological data online and offer a handsome reward to anyone who could help find more gold on the property. The Goldcorp Challenge was a huge success, but the firm's geological staff complained just before the event was launched. "We have real concerns," they told McEwen.