Re: Resistance to Change LO1250

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Tue, 16 May 1995 22:05:43 +0059 (EDT)

Replying to LO1193 --

Eleanor, I like that. I agree that the expression "resisting change" is
- um - dangerous: that is, I've heard people use it to refer to what they
thought of as a curious psychological state of the "resister", requiring
diagnosis and possibly treatment. And that's dangerous, for all the
reasons you expressed so well.

In fact, and coincidentally (!) this is related to that other thread of
ours about "really there". Consider this schema: two people, confronting
the same set of facts and a recommendation for change. Person A
welcomes, person B demurs and resists. I suggest that perhaps both
people are seeing what is really the case -- only not all of it. If
that's true, then neither is in need of therapy, only good dialogue.

Jim Michmerhuizen
--------------------------------------------------- ---------------------
. . . . . There are more different kinds of people in the world . . . . .
. . ^ . . than there are people... . . . . .

On 13 May 1995 WYNN@AppleLink.Apple.COM wrote:

> Michael McMaster wrote among other things:
> >To make the point: the individual or organisation may have no more
> >"choice" about its nature of "resisting change" than the wire. The
> >choice (or at least variety of response) is greater due to its nature
> >but the "resistance" may be as strongly in its nature.--
> The domain of discourse here is culture. Culture tends to optimize. As an
> anthropologist I have always thought the "resistance to change" argument
> to be psycho-techno-centric nonsense based in the assumption that the
> change in question is clearly good.
> I have missed much of the conversation so please forgive me if repeating
> the argument. Culture tends to move towards what works, given the context
> of the framework it has created. If culture were too wildly unresistant to
> change we would have been extinct from eating poisonous plants and jumping
> off cliffs to see if we, unlike our ancestors, could fly. Culture tends to
> move slowly, but recently it has moved very rapidly. Things that have
> obvious immediate utility get adopted fast. One problem comes up when the
> new things have no analogy in the culture to the old: third world
> agricultural workers handling pesticides and herbicides with their bare
> hands. Not resistant enough--no model for a deadly dust, or for something
> that poisons over several years.
> How about the people who volunteered or agreed to watch the first A-bomb
> blast at Alamogordo. Resistant to change? Not exactly.
> Practicality is what I would call all of it. Looking to see the
> consequences before rushing to do something. Some are more experimental
> than others--there is an elaborate diffusion model for this. How about the
> 19th century? Or better yet, the 16th? Sailing boats over uncharted seas
> just looking for something. All the biologists and anthropologists and
> geographers wandering to unexplored parts for the sake of science, many
> not surviving.
> If the greater mass of people are slower to adapt, there is probably a
> sense to it.
> Regards,
> --
> Eleanor Wynn, PhD
> Transparent Practices, Inc.
> Portland OR