UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE
La Verne, California
Leadership Skills to Overcoming Resistance to
A Case-Based Capstone Paper Submitted
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Science, Leadership and Management
College of Business and Public Management
Department of Business Management and Leadership
Organizations have experienced plentiful organizational change failures over
years, in which the resistance to organizational changes was a major barrier. However,
change agents did not handle the resistance well, because they were lack of certain
leadership skills. The purpose of this case study was to examine where the resistance
came from, and evaluate to what level each element of the resistance impacted on
organizational changes at financial institutions in Saudi Arabia. Research questions
consisted of 1) What are the reasons that lead resisters to resist an organizational
change? 2) What kind of leadership qualities are the most effective approaches to
overcome resistance? Using the surveys monkey for both employees and managers, the
research invited 10 employees who identified the behaviors code and the reasons
behind resistance to organizational change, and five managers who declared their
prospectives about resistance and what actions did they take when they encountered
resistance to organizational changes. The results of this study illustrated the most
important reasons of employees’ resisted organizational changes, and found out that
lack of certain leadership skills were the most challenges for managers who failed to
make organizational changes effectively. The research determined that managers
should have sufficient leadership skills to drive organizational changes successfully.
I would like to thank all the professors who work in the MSLM program at University
of La Verne, my classmates, friends, and previous colleagues who participated in the
survey helped me achieve my goals and objectives in this study. I deeply appreciated
them that devoted their valuable time and commitment to the research.
This is dedicated to supportive parents who inspired me to pursue my higher
education, my brothers and sisters who consistently encouraged me, my wife and three
children who provided unlimited patience to see me through this effort. For all
participants who responded to the survey contributed to design a successful
Table of Contents
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………. 1
Literature Review ……………………………………………...………………………… 3
Case Study Methodology ……………………………………………………………….. 10
Results ……………………………………………………………………………………. 16
Discussion and Implementation Plan ………………………………………………….. 22
References ………………………………………………………………………………. 29
Appendices ………………………………………………………………………………. 31
List of Figures
Figure 1: Participated by Years of Experience ………….……………………… 11
Figure 2: Participated by Age …………………….……………………………… 11
Figure 3: Resistance as Negative Attitude ……...……….……………………… 12
Figure 4: The Most Influential Reasons Why Employees Resist ….…….......... 12
Figure 5: Resistance is Negative.…………………………………...…………… 20
Figure 6: Involvement, Appreciation & Experience ……………...………..…… 21
List of Tables
Table 1: Distinctions Between Management and Leadership …………….…… 6
Table 2: Examples of Factors of Resistance …..…………..………..…………… 14
Table 3: The Current Loan Process is Sufficient or Not …..………....…………… 14
Table 4: Example of Open-ended questions ………..……………....…………… 15
Table 5: Communication Behaviors..……………………..…………..…………… 16
Table 6: Feeling Behaviors ……..………………………………………..……… 17
Table 7: Incentive Behaviors ………………………………..……….………… 17
Table 8:Conflict Behaviors ……………………………………..…….…………… 18
Table 9: The Reasons to Resist Change………………………………………… 18
Table 10: Behaviors managers observed employees resist changes…………… 19
Table 11: The most important reasons why people resist the changes…………... 19
Table 12: The actions managers took as leader to overcome resistors behaviors… 20
Overcoming Resistance to Change 1
To be effective, leaders have to overcome resistance to changes in order to
achieve organizational growth and development. Implementing organizational changes
successfully at financial institutions in Saudi Arabia requires certain leadership skills to
institutionalize the change efforts and to reduce resistance. When change initiatives
were introduced into the workplace with little positive impact on work performance and
operating efficiencies, it results in wasted time and money. Organizations are still
suffering from resistance to organizational changes, which demonstrate the need for
leaders to continue to develop their skills to deal with resistance in implementing
changes in the workplace (Atkinson, 2005).
Changes in large institutions are often difficult when leaders are not able to
manage changes well. However, the need to make changes will not go away.
Organizations need to develop an approach to overcome resistance and drive changes
in an effective way. Generating leadership skills to encounter resistance and implement
change efforts successfully will contribute to a better performance, increasing motivation
to its employees, and satisfaction from their clients (Atkinson, 2005).
Research indicates that there is a major challenge in driving organizational
changes, which is dealing with resistance that change agents encounter. It is
extraordinary for any organizational change does not face any resistance. Recognizing
and welcoming resistance as a healthy response and an opportunity to listen to different
perspectives is what allows leaders to successfully navigate the change process
Leadership skills are very essential to overcome resistance to organizational
changes. Wise leaders can achieve the organizational changes by applying leadership
qualities today in the workplace to decrease resistance to organizational changes. As a
Overcoming Resistance to Change 2
result, organizations improve its qualities and quantities, and win the market share
To identify the leadership skills and behaviors that can help to overcome
resistance to organizational change and two kinds of surveys were completed by
managers and employees in the facilities department of a financial services organization.
The survey was designed to identify the most important factors that were most effective
in addressing resistance when a change process was implemented. Two precise
research questions were addressed: (1) What are the reasons that lead resisters to
resist an organizational change? (2) What leadership quality is the most effective
approach to overcome resistance to organizational changes?
The result of this case study demonstrates the important factors and to what
degree these factors influence employees to resist organization change. The most
central behavior employees asserted in this case was lack of perceived benefits in the
change process. Also the outcome of this case study shows what kind of leadership
skills managers would use when they face resistance from their employees. The results
of this study show that leadership is essential to implement the organizational change
wisely. The recommended action plan is to help managers implement organizational
change efficiently by using different criteria of leadership skills.
Overcoming Resistance to Change 3
Resistance to Change
Leaders understand resistance as having numerous components, which are
restraining, and do not support the change. People who resist change play it safe in the
current situation, and thus refuse to explore and try a new concept of change, as they do
not see the benefits of it. Although resistance often comes from everywhere in the
organizational change process, resistance is in itself a subjective issue where managers
observe behaviors that do not support an organizational change (Ford & Ford, 2009).
“One of the biggest mistakes change leaders can make is to assume that resistance is
without merit. But resisters can shed valuable insights about how proposed changes
might be modified to increase the odds for success” (Michelman, 2007, p.3).
Harvey (1995) declares that an organizational change that lacks resistance is not
considered a change at all. There are rational reasons why individuals would support the
change process before they clearly understanding its implications. First, followers have
only heard about the change, but nothing has been implemented due to ineffective
managers. Then, subordinates have no commitment to create or develop the
organization. Next, no one is willing to speak up when resistance is present. Fourth, all
team members’ perceptions are alike in terms of organizational change, and everyone
sees it is an appropriate change. Therefore, resistance is a healthy response to a long-
term organizational change which leads leaders to embrace resistance. “A major
problem in driving change in organizations is dealing with and managing the resistance
you will encounter. Whether the initiative is focused upon coaching a new leadership
culture, or promoting new behaviors in customer relationship management, the problems
encountered will be similar” (Atkinson, 2005, p.15).
Overcoming Resistance to Change 4
Michelman states that resisters who may have valuable insights in identifying
organizational change may prevent implementation of such changes (2007). Carefully
diagnosing their mindful inquiries can multiply the chances for streamlined success. It is
not critical how well change is planned in efforts, but the most crucial difficulty is to
ignore change resisters in management positions. Resisters are one of numerous
components of the organization. It is particularly crucial to motivate them. Gullickson
(2009) states that an exclusive development can generate changes and valuable
principles when resistance arises from individuals that resist the change action plan.
Organizations resist radical change with every organizational chart and
standard operating procedure manual they can muster. Therefore, to execute a
strategy, one must enable change, as well as overcome resistance to change.
One model successfully used by a Fortune 100 company recognizes that the
following three items are necessary for achieving radical change:
Dissatisfaction with an existing situation will create a need to change.
Clearly communicating a strategic vision will provide a goal for change.
Teaching and practicing the first change steps will lead to an execution
orientation within the organization. (Lefebvre , 1997, p. 58).
Sources of Resistance
Many sources of resistance have an impact on an organizational change.
Resistances consist of insufficient ownership, inadequate compensation, increased
trouble, management’s commitment, insecurity, norm’s conflict, monotony, disorder,
advantage, diverse experience, the unexpected, substantial change, collapse, and
exceptional organizational structure. Each factor plays a different role in the
organizational change process. Wise leaders predict the circumstance that has more
influence than others do (Harvey, 1995).
Resistance towards change encompasses behaviors that are acted out by
change recipients in order to slow down or terminate an intended organizational
change. Several researchers have reported that attempts to implement strategic
changes sometimes are met with resistance from those affected by the change.
(Lines, 2004, p. 197)
Overcoming Resistance to Change 5
Organizations that operate in dynamic environments are highly competitive in
overcoming considerable challenges to implement organizational changes.
Consequently, managing organizational change is particularly crucial for an
organizational development. In the wisdom of change management, the resistance to
organizational change was the most crucial challenge for implementing it (Mabin,
Forgeson, & Green, 2001).
The reasons employees and even leaders resist change can vary. Some key
• Fear of risk;
• Lack of clarity regarding purpose of change;
• Fear of inadequate staffing to achieve goals targeted in change;
• Fear of failure; and
• Lack of will to change” (Merisalo ,2010, p.3).
Curtis and White (2002) state several reasons for the most serious causes of
resistance to organizational change, which increase tension, fear of urgency, and
conflicts with change agents. Changees tend to pay attention to their own goals,
misunderstanding the need for organizational change, they are not confident about the
future development. Organizations did not prepare well to create readiness of the
change. More than likely, there was insufficient communication and no system to monitor
the change process, and give inappropriate rewards to those who fully supported and
facilitated the needed changes.
Bommer, Rich, and Rubin (2005) argued that transformational leadership is a
vital tool used to influence an effective organizational change effort, which
transformational leaders used to motivate employees into becoming agents of the
organizational change. Increasing the organization’s performance will support on-going
institutionalized organizational change (Goodman, & Rousseau, 2005). Carter, Ulrich,
and Goldsmith (2005) announce that each organizational change overcomes objection.
Overcoming Resistance to Change 6
The more individuals are forced to organization change, they more resistance will exist
in buy-in process. All changes encounter resistance. Employees often resist change
while unconsciously they are changing. Resistance while processing an additional
change would virtually disappear. Jones (2010) reported that resistance to
organizational change decreases an organization’s competency and diminishes its
opportunity to sustain. As a result, inactivity is established in the entire organization,
among team members, and at every level. The representative of change does not only
embrace responsibility for the relationship with individuals, but he also generates the
strategy of change implementation (Ford, & Ford 2008).
Leaders hold people accountable for accomplishing proactive process
activities that contribute to eventual group and organizational success in
productivity, quality, and/or safety. Moreover when people see some
improvement in the process, they feel rewarded for their efforts and would
develop a sense of personal responsibility for continued contributions and never-
ending improvement. Thus, by focusing on the process, leaders help people
perceive the power they have over the frequent, intrinsic consequences of their
jobs. (Geller, 2002, p. 32) Leadership strategies are more effective than
management strategies are while dealing with organizational change. (See Table
Distinctions Between Management and Leadership (source: Geller, 2002, p.47)
Hold people accountable Build responsibility
Focus on outcomes Focus on process
Focus on extrinsic consequences Focus on intrinsic consequences
Give more corrective feedback Give more supportive feedback
Train only Educate first
Use unconditional directives Use conditional directives
Speak first, then listen Listen first, then speak
Answer questions Ask questions
Promote compliance Promote ownership
Limit mindful choice Facilitate mindful choice
Mandate rules and policies Set expectations
Manage what’s measured Facilitate intangibles
Fall victim to stereotypes Treat people as individuals
Direct Direct, support, coach, or delegate
Overcoming Resistance to Change 7
Miner (2005) claims that resistance arises from subordinates behaviors toward
the organizational change, and such behaviors are decreased by the leaders’
charismatic behavioral responses. Windall (2007) mentions that a wise leader would
reward an earlier achievement, take chances to create a desired acceptance of the
changers for a recent revision even though organizational change is the better plan to
improve efficiency. When determining how to influence employees and reduce
resistance to change, managers should consider the relationship they have with targeted
employees (Furst, & Cable, 2008). As a consequence, individuals will welcome any
variety of change and participate in this plan effectively. Leaders need to have the ability
to bring individuals to their side in order to implement an organizational change
effectively (Knippenberg & Hogg, 2003). Ashkanasy, and Kavanagh (2006) found that
the most crucial competencies of leadership to operate in organizational change are
clarifying the change vision, communicate, and implement transparency in to the
The smartest strategy to conquer resistance is to invite changees in to decisions
and solutions making that will be delivered to and affect their work. Providing systematic
procedure (Lee & Krayer, 2003), “Resistance continues only when leaders do not know
how to handle people who are experiencing change. Resistance is the leader’s
challenge, not the employees’ challenge”. Schein (2004) announces that managers often
face subordinates' resistance to change without adequate consideration which often
results in being plans delayed overtime. Conflicts come from lack of readiness to change
and insufficient understanding about the vision. Leaders have to achieve understanding
and acceptance from every level in the organization through communication to support
organizational change, so that the change can be accomplished in a desired time frame.
Huang, and Huang (2009) articulates that how “the strength or the direction, the
Overcoming Resistance to Change 8
relationship between resistance to change and change outcome are meaningful and
even causal” (p.111).
Purpose of this Case Study
The purpose of this case study is to examine where resistance came from and
analyze to what degree each factor is influenced by organizational changes. The goal of
this research is to create a program to assist the internal and external change agents to
implement organizational changes effectively by applying leadership skills to overcome
The literature reviewed can provide a broad understanding of the reasons of
resistance to organizational changes, which can well prepare leaders to establish the
framework to overcome the resistance. Communication system is carefully developed in
order to engage the buy in from followers. Characteristics such as persuasive, inspiring,
constructive will be import to core competencies for a change agent (Kotter & Cohen,
Research Question 1: What are the reasons that lead resisters to resist an
Kotter and Schlesinger (2008) report that “To predict what form their resistance
might take, managers need to be aware of the four most common reasons people resist
change. These are a desire not to lose something of value, a misunderstanding of the
change and its implications, a belief that the change does not make sense for the
organization, and a low tolerance for change” (p.132). Answers to this case research
question are important to help managers diagnose where resistance comes from, so it
can give the change agent a clear image of why individuals resist organizational change.
Therefore, genuine leaders could determine how to deal with resisters for the reason
Overcoming Resistance to Change 9
that they recognize the sources of resistance and where impediment comes from and
set up an adequate strategy to deal with it effectively.
Research Question 2: What kind of leadership qualities are the most effective
approach to overcome resistance?
Answering this question will assist agents to understand adequate leadership
qualities that enable them to lead resisters to understand why they resist. According to
Strebel (1996) “Without such leadership, employees will remain skeptical of the vision for
change and distrustful of management, and management wills likewise he frustrated and
stymied by employees' resistance” (p.92). This research question is vital for the reason
that it generates the valuable impact of leadership qualities for overcoming resistance
and implements organizational change successfully at financial corporations.
Overcoming Resistance to Change 10
CASE STUDY METHODOLOGY
The purpose of this study was to examine and analyze sources of resistance and
create an instrumental tool of leadership skills to help change agents achieve
organizational changes effectively at a financial institution. Data were gathered from
employees in a major bank in Saudi Arabia, which was set up in 1977, and its capital
was worth Saudi Riyal (SAR) 4500 millions. The organization is composed of a
headquarters, two local offices, and 45 branches nationwide. It is a large organization
with 816 employees. However, the facility department consisted of 20 employees, which
is the heart beating of the bank. A major change at the facilities department would affect
the whole organization.
This study was conducted with two surveys, which included a managers’ survey
and an employees’ survey. There were five managers who participated in the managers’
survey, and ten employees at the facilities department who completed the employees’
Participants were selected using several criteria:
All participants in either managers’ survey or employees’ survey had experienced at
least one organizational change at the facility department (See figure 1).
Overcoming Resistance to Change 11
Figure 1: Participants’ Years of Experience
Seven out of 15 participants were in the range from 28 to 32 years old, another
five participants were between 23 and 27 years old, two of the rest were over 33 years
old, and only one participant was younger than 22 years old (See figure 2).
Figure 2: Participants’ Age
The managers who participated in the survey of the study were selected to
articulate whether the resistance negative attitude or not to affect organizational changes
at facility department with various perspectives (See figure 3).
Overcoming Resistance to Change 12
Figure3: Resistance as Negative Attitude.
The Managers who participated in the survey were selected to identify the
resistance behaviors that they had observed from employees. The employees who
participated in the survey of the study were selected to explain the factors that caused
resistance when a new change applied (See figure 4).
Figure 4: The Most Influential Reasons why Employees Resist Change.
Overcoming Resistance to Change 13
All participants were asked to take the survey using the survey monkey online by
sending the link to their emails. The bank’s permission was given to the researcher to
distribute surveys via a letter of approval signed by the Human Resources Office (See
Appendix A).The participants were given an informed consent attached to their emails.
Their personal identities were not disclosed, and their responses were used for the
purpose of this study only (See Appendix B).
The research was conducted by quantitative methodology, which included two
separate surveys on Survey Monkey for different participants working on different
positions separately. It was the preferred method of data collection for the abroad
participants, because it was easy to manage, and data could be collected quickly
through emails. The researcher created 10 questions in each survey that designed to
collect information either from managers or from employees (See Appendix C and D).
Each survey had three sections :The first section was covered the demographics
questions; the second section was asked three questions about perceptions of
organizational change the in the workplace process; the third section addressed four
questions about the reasons of resistance to organizational changes, included one
open-end question in the employees’ survey and four open-end questions in the
managers’ survey to allow participants to add their insight in terms of organizational
The scale used to measure the responses was 1 =Strongly Disagree,
2=Disagree, 3 = Neither Disagree, Agree 4= Agree, or 5= Strongly Disagree, to
demonstrate their opinion toward resistance to organization change (Fields, 2002). In
addition, rating scale was used that to explain the degree each factor had influenced
resisters to resist organizational changes. For example, rating of “1” means that
behavior/element had no impact on why the change was not successful and a rating of
Overcoming Resistance to Change 14
“5” means that the behavior/element had a strong impact on the failure of the changes
being made to the loan process.
Use ratings of “2”, “3”, and “4” to evaluate your perceptions between “not at all”
and “very much so” (Harvey, 1995, p.66).(see Table2)
Table 2: Examples of factors that cause resistance
Example of resources of resistance to organization changes
Lack owner ship for the changes to loan process
Lack of Benefits
Increased of burden (it was “more work”)
Lack of communication from senior leaders
One of the common questions in each survey, either in managers’ survey or
employees’ survey part, was about whether the current loan process is sufficient and
needs no improvement to evaluate the loan process contributions to reach the
organization’s goal (See Table 2).
Table 3: The current loan process is sufficient and needs no improvement
Answer Options N % N %
Strongly Disagree 2 20% 2 20%
Disagree 6 60% 6 60%
Neither Disagree nor Agree 2 20% 0 0%
Agree 0 0% 1 10%
Strongly Agree 0 0% 1 10%
Totals 5 100% 10 100%
The final portion of each survey, either in managers’ survey or employees’
survey, was included an open-ended questions to allow the participants add their
Overcoming Resistance to Change 15
valuable perceptions, for the reason that the internal culture of the financial organization
is played a crucial function to resist organizational changes. (See Table 3)
Table 4:Open-ended questions.
Example of the open-ended questions
What are the reasons that lead resisters to resist change? (Employees survey)
What actions did you take as the leader to address those actions/behaviors? (Managers
Overcoming Resistance to Change 16
CASE STUDY RESULTS
This case study examined the factors of resistance to organizational changes
from both employees and managers perceptions. Results for Research Question 1:
What are the reasons that lead resisters to resist an organizational change? This
question was answered by ten employees who participated through survey monkey.
Individuals explained where the sources of resistance came from and to what degree
each factor had impacted organizational changes in the facilities department. The
sources of resistance were raised from diverse behaviors, including communication
behaviors, feeling behaviors, incentive behaviors, and conflict behaviors.
The communication behaviors were explained and rated by employees on three
factors, which included: 1) chaos –too much change happened at the same time with an
average rating of 3.89, 2) lack of communication from senior leaders who have most
knowledge about the change itself, employees who participates in the survey rated this
valuable aspect 3.76, and 3) lack of ownership for the changes to the loan process with
an average rating of 3.30. Therefore, there is a relationship between resistance to
organizational change and communication behaviors are very significant from the
participants perceptions (See Table 5).
Table 5: Communication Behaviors
Communication Behaviors Rating Average
1- Chaos – too much work 3.89
2- Lack of communication 3.67
3- Lack of ownership 3.30
The second behavioral factor was feeling, which includes superiority, insecurity,
and loneliness. Participants rated superiority as the most important factor that influenced
feeling toward resistance to change with an average rate 3.44. Insecurity from
Overcoming Resistance to Change 17
organizational changes was rated as 2.89 in average, and loneliness was rated as 2.88
(See Table 6).
Table 6: Feeling Behaviors
Feeling Behaviors Rating Average
1- Superiority 3.44
2- Insecurity 2.89
3- Loneliness 2.88
The third catgory was incentive behaviors, which included lack of benefits, lack of
recognition, and boredom. Lack of benefits was the most important factor that lead
employees to resist organizational changes with average rate 4.38. Lack of recognition
was rated at average 3.56, where employees did not feel appreciated for the effort they
made. As a result, they resisted any sort of change in the loan process. Employees gave
boredom an average rating of 4.00, where it played an important role in the change
efforts, because there was no motivation to learn new things (See Table 7).
Table 7: Incentive Behaviors
Communication Behaviors Rating Average
1- Lack of benefits 4.38
2- Lack of recognition 3.56
3- Boredom 4.00
The fourth catgory was about conflict behaviors, which included lack of clear
organization structure, lack of time to prepare and process the change, norms
incongruence, and new knowledge required. Employees had rated the lack of
organizational structure with averege rate 3.44 that indicated to the relationship between
top management was not effective to facilitate the change efforts. It was hard to make
changes in overnight for the reason that it would create confilcts and the change would
not be successful. Sudden was average rating of 3.76 in the survey. Participants rated
Overcoming Resistance to Change 18
norms incongruence with an average rating of 3.4 in terms of its influence on change.
Employess mentioned that new knowledge required to deal with a new change to avoid
conflicts and misunderstanding. It was rated at average 4.11 (See Table 8).
Table 8: Conflict Behaviors
Conflict Behaviors Rating Ave
1- Lack of clear organizational 3.44
3- Norms incongruence
4- New knowledge required
Managers also articulated the factors of resistance based on open- eneded
questions. The most significant factor was explained by mangers was that employees
thought that they would not get any benefit from that change, which represented 40% of
the respondents. The second factor was that employees did not pay attention to the
main goal, which covered 40% of the respondents. The third factor was declared that
employees felt inconvenience to make change, which was rated at 10% (See Table 9).
Table 9: The reasons people resist change
Factors of resistance %
1- Lack of benefits 40%
2- Inattention to objectives 40%
3- Inconvenience 20%
Managers were asked about the behaviors they observed from employees during
the change.The behavior managers observed on their employees complained about a
new procedure, which represented 40%. Postponement was a behavior that managers
noticed the employees performed against a new change. Managers also stated that
employees just thought about their own ego (See Table 10).
Overcoming Resistance to Change 19
Table 10: Behaviors managers observed employees resist changes in the loan process.
Behaviors of resistance %
1- Complaining 45%
2- Postponed 33%
3- Focusing on their Own ego 22%
Employees were asked open–ended questions to articulate unique reasons that
led resistors to resist organizational changes. The result of this question as the following:
The first reason was that no benefits employees got from that change. The second
reason was communication system across the hierarchy between managers and
employees. The third one was incompetent employees hired in the facilities department.
The last one was lack of leadership skills necessary to implement changes (See Table
Table 11: The most important reasons people resist the changes.
Behaviors of resistance %
1- Lack of benefits 38.5%
2- Lack of communication 23.1%
3- Unqualified hire 15.4%
4- Lack of leadership 15.4%
5- Fear of losing 7.7%
Managers were asked to explain if the resistance to changes the process was
negative. Sixty percent of the respondents declared that they strongly agreed that the
resistance from employees against the change was negative. Twenty percent of the
participants either disagreed or agreed that the resistance was negative (See Figure 5).
Overcoming Resistance to Change 20
Figure 5: Resistance from employess to change the loan process
Results for Research Question 2: What kind of leadership qualities was the most
effective approach to overcome resistance? For Research Question 2, only managers
responded to the last 4 questions on the survey in order to answered this research
question. The managers who participated in the survey articulated that 60% of them did
not feel appreciated for the effort they have contributed to implement the change in
discussions and decision making in the loan change process. Moreover, 60% of the
managers declared that the earlier change did not contribute to high performance. On
the contrary, 20% of the managers that participated in the survey stated that earlier
changes led to high performance effectively. Most of the managers who answered the
survey did not involve to the discussions and decision-making level in the loan change
process (See Figure 6).
Overcoming Resistance to Change 21
Figure 6: Involvement, Appreciation and Experience
The last question in the managers’ survey asked about what kind of leadership
managers would initiate with their subordinates to resolve resistance. The most
frequently stated behavior was to encourage the employees to do the job more
effectively in order to facilitate the success of the change process. Others announced
that the best ways to overcome resistance from subordintes were persuasion and
influence them to perform effectively (See Table 12).
Table 12: The actions mangers took as leader to overcome resistors behaviors
Leadership skills %
1- Power 43.3%
2- Encouragement 24.7%
3- Persuasion 17.6%
Overcoming Resistance to Change 22
DISCUSSION AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
Many organizational change efforts failed at financial institutions because of
numerous resistances that occur for different reasons. These results are important,
because the participants explained the reasons for resistance to organizational changes,
which organizations can adopt to overcome resistance effectively. The most important
reasons for employees to resist organizational changes were found to be functional
expectations, communication, incentives, feelings, and conflict behaviors. The results
also clarified that managers considered resistances as negative actions toward
organizational changes, so that they often avoided or ignored the individuals who
engaged in these actions. The results also make it evident that employees who resist
organizational changes have not benn involved in the decision making process. These
results illustrate the need for more effective leadership skills to overcome resistances to
organizational changes in the financial institute in Saudi Arabia.
According to Kotter (1996), a useful purpose of an organizational change would
not be understood if the communicators are not delivering the vision of the
organizational change clearly to their subordinates. Direction and simple communication
are effective more than complicated and indirect communication. Communicating
through behaviors about a new approach is more effective to influence the resisters.
Listening to the changes is considered a wise communication strategy because the
employees are providing valuable feedback, which assume the change is a wrong
Participants who participated in this case study declared that communication
behaviors were taking a major function in the change process. The employees who
participated in the survey clarified the reasons of resistance to the change are caused by
lack of communication, lack of ownership, and lack of institutionalization of the changes.
Overcoming Resistance to Change 23
One of the most critical aspects to resist organizational changes is pay off.
Examining the level of pay off to the employees has a great impact on the
implementation. The more the organization generates an appropriate pay off policy, the
less the employees resist the organizational change. Employees would not contribute
effectively to the change unless they see the benefits for themselves (Harvey, 1995).
The majority of the participants either in the employee or manager’s survey emphasized
on incentive behaviors led to successful organizational changes.
Identifying resistance behaviors to organizational changes is an indispensable
process and an opportunity to improve the organizational change, because employees
would provide the leader with a new perception from the blind side that the changer
cannot recognize it in the implementation. As a result, the leader will lead to create
successful change effort (Atchinson, 2005).The majority of the managers who
participated in this case study announced that resistance to organizational change was
considered as negative behavior from their employees.
The most important resource to overcome resistance and drive the organizational
change successfully is empowerment. It takes place when subordinates feel that their
sustainability is in their own hands, they understand the importance of a task;
understand the purpose of organizational change, and are willing to reach the
organization goals. If changees do not feel empowered, they are not motivated to
collaborate in the change process (Harvey, 1995). The majority of the participants felt
lack of involvement in the decision making process, they did not feel recognized and
appreciated to their effort, which kept them away from the organizational commitment.
Lencioni (2002) mentioned that an efficient path to make certain that a group of
changees are focusing their attention on the outcomes of organizational change is to
emphasize their benefits to the success of the organizational change. Once changees
have a common sense about their supervisor values other than focusing on the
Overcoming Resistance to Change 24
organizational change successfully, they will act the same way as supervisor did to
follow the informal norms. A wise leader pays attention to the organizational result, and
empowers subordinates to the right direction. The employees who participated in this
case study demonstrated that the lack of clear statement of benefits played a significant
role in the organizational change to overcome resistance. Moreover, managers who
participated in the study declared that inattention to objectives is a major resistance
behavior that led resisters to resist the organizational change.
Resistance to organizational change occurs when employees lack ownership for
the change as well as if employees do not understand the purpose of the change. For
instance, employees are more likely to accept change that they themselves have
acknowledged and planned. Any major organizational change that is imposed will be
performed negatively and result in resistance. The best way to identify ownership is to
allow changees participate in the change’s decision (Harvey 1995).
The employees who participated in the survey indicated that lack of ownership is
one of the most significant reasons why changees did not implement the organizational
Recommended Action Plan
The result of this case study shows that the reasons why employees do not
perform effectively in the loan process development in the facilities department in the
financial institution. Managers or change agents need to practice leadership skills to
enable individuals to contribute to improving and developing the loan process of the
bank in order to provide customers with better qualified services. The following steps
that will assist managers and change agents to implement the loan process
development effectively in facilities department
Overcoming Resistance to Change 25
Communication for Buy-In
Creating a competency communication is a crucial aspect for managers. Utilizing
communication can increase the urgency of improving the current loan process, because
competitors are growing quickly in financial service industry. In addition, acknowledging
talented employees who are willing to implement a new loan process to ensure the
quality of work at facilities department. A successful communication strategy will
minimize the gap between managers and employees to maintain their positive working
relationships and give employees’ opportunities to share their thoughts about the
strengths and weaknesses of the current loan process. Good communication will allow
managers to deliver effectively the task to employees, which is to get the bank’s targeted
number of loans each month.
A wise communication strategy will help managers to discover the needs of the
employees, which are to improve their ability and train them in new skills in order to help
update loan process from being manually to systematically. In other words, through
communication leaders can identify the specific of training programs that meet facilities
department employees’ need to improve their work skills. It will also assist managers to
collect and select effective incentives from salaries, promotions, and bounces to
motivate employees to perform a new loan process, which delivers better service to
customers. Communication between managers and employees is the key to
understanding the main needs of our customers to get their satisfaction, as result of
which clients will remain loyal to the bank. However, customers will transfer to our
competitors when communication went to a wrong way, which will cause the bank to
downsize and cuts jobs. Communication systems will allow facilities department’s
employees to get an interest rate from treasury department more accessible, so that
they are able to respond to customers fast. Communication will facilitate the how
Overcoming Resistance to Change 26
approval of complicated loan issues between top level managers and employees to
respond to a client in less time possible.
A clear communication from managers will articulate to the employees what
percentages should the productivity increased. Communicators could use most effective
methods that are group meetings with managers from different levels and employees
from facilities department each month; memos to seek feedback, informal one to one
talk to deliver the goals setting of department.
Institutionalization the of Organizational Change
Establishing a new loan process to the employees and managers should plan to
create a new loan process and explain how, when and why should implement the new
loan process in order to ensure that employees would understand and support it
strongly. The factors of Institutionalizations that will allow the new loan process take
place, as result will be implemented successfully.
Planning and preparation is the first step to maintain origination rules in order to
analyze worker efficiency. Managers should be willing to listen to their employees’
perspective in terms of the current loan process and what they think about a new loan
process , also participating and involving the subordinates in the decision is to identify
what is the new change would be and how the change is will be implemented. Timing is
a significant factor to improve daily work task which will result in great attitude job.
Therefore, when the timing of change is effective, then the employees would accomplish
their mission in timely manner. Moreover, Mangers should articulate that loan change
process in clear, simple language to gain the consensus prior to implement a new
procedure in the work place.
Participation and Involvement in the Decision Making
The main function of the leaders in building mutual decision making is to
anticipate employees’ needs in the implementation of the new loan process. Employees
Overcoming Resistance to Change 27
will not embrace the new concept of change the current loan process unless they
participate in the decision of a new loan process the most effective plan leaders should
consider is to expand employees’ support to develop a new procedure in order to fulfill
customers. Sharing information about customers’ satisfaction is to demonstrate to
employees the effectiveness of the current loan process. As result of that developing
loan process is a smart preparation that would keep employees contribute efficiently to a
new loan process.
Managers or change’s agent involve the individuals who are reluctant to some
aspect of the plan and implementation of the loan change process, they can often expect
employees who do not want to implement a new loan process. As result of that, listening
carefully to employees who refuse to contribute to improve loan process and, if possible,
implement their recommendations.
Creating a wise reward system is the motivational key to increase employees’
ownership at facilities department. Articulating the most significant advantages that
employees would gain by implementing a new loan process is to give them a clear
picture to evaluate the situation. Reward system includes different aspects that are
payoff, recognition, and promotion.
Employees should be considered as an important characteristic that will
contribute in the loan change process by the changers. Employees want to perform their
job in a way they can receive their interests. Employees are willing to supporting the new
loan process if they believe that they can get benefit from it.
Substantially, rewards must be shaped to individuals carefully to fit their desires.
Employees have different value some of whom, prefer recognition, favor payoff, others
challenge, others honor, others occupation security and so on.
Overcoming Resistance to Change 28
The relation between employees' contribution efforts and loan change process must be
prepared clear to individuals in order to encourage them implement the task effectively.
Creating a short term program can reward employees who contribute effectively in the
new loan process in order to expend their loyalty
Overcoming Resistance to Change 29
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Overcoming Resistance to Change 32
Overcoming Resistance to Change 33
CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH
Leadership Skills to Overcome Resistance for Organizational Changes
FOR MANAGERS AND EMPLOYEES
You are being asked to participate in a case study research conducted by Majid
Bakarman, from the Master’s in Leadership and Management Program at the University
of La Verne as part of a culminating research project. You were selected as a possible
participant in this study because your experience in organizational change match me
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This study is designed to develop appropriate leadership skills to assist change’s agents
to implement organizational changes successfully.
Leadership skills overcome resistance to change
If you decide to participate in this study, we will ask you to do the following things:
Answer a brief survey consisting of10 questions in three categories. The categories are:
Demographics (such as your age, experience, and how often you have been involved
in an organizational change)
Questions related to your expectations of how organizational changes would be
POTENTIAL RISKS AND DISCOMFORTS
There is a slight risk of a breach of your confidentiality but every effort will be made to
maintain your identity and responses as confidential.
PAYMENT FOR PARTICIPATION
There is no payment for participation.
Any information that is obtained in connection with this study and that can be identified
with you will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission or as
required by law. Confidentiality will be maintained by means of Confidentiality will be
maintained by not publishing any identified information with any survey data. Completed
surveys will be kept away from the organization and will not be accessible to anyone
except Majid Bakarman.
Overcoming Resistance to Change 34
PARTICIPATION AND WITHDRAWAL
You can choose whether to be in this study or not. If you volunteer to be in this study,
you may withdraw at any time without consequences of any kind. You may also refuse
to answer any questions you don’t want to answer and still remain in the study.
IDENTIFICATION OF INVESTIGATORS
If you have any questions or concerns about the research, please feel free to contact
Majid Bakarman, 347 755 0333, Majid.Bakarman@laverne.edu or my faculty sponsor,
Dr. Deborah Olson, 909-593-3511 ext. 4579, firstname.lastname@example.org.
RIGHTS OF RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS
You may withdraw your consent at any time and discontinue participation without
penalty. You are not waiving any legal claims, rights or remedies because of your
participation in this research study. If you have questions regarding your rights as a
research participant, contact Fred Yaffe, PhD, Director of Institutional Research Board at
909-593-3511, extension 4996 or email@example.com (University of La Verne, 1950
Third Street, La Verne, CA 91750).
By completing the survey, I am giving my consent to participate in this research.
Overcoming Resistance to Change 35
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