RE: Resistance to change LO1275
Wed, 17 May 1995 14:49:48 -0400

Peter von Stackelberg says:

"Some research work (including computer
modeling) I'm doing seems to be pointing in the
direction that there may in fact be an innate
tendency to resist change"

The term "resistance to change" reminds me of
Bateson's discussion of "gravity" where he said
something like (I remember my response more
than what BAteson actually said) "Gravity is a name
that we use to cover up that we don't actually
understand what is going on here".

People do, in fact, resist change, for variety fo very
good reasons. Some of the ones that are easy to
point to include:

1) Habits are difficult to change

2) The organizational reward system penalizes
people for making the proposed change.

3) The proposed change objectively costs me
something (a losss of power or money or prestige).

4) Learning a new thing ALWAYS takes some effort
and I may not have the time to do it.

5) change almost always means at least a
temporary increase in errors and most
organizations punish us for errors.

Systems dynamics would add that the existing
feedback loops in the organization will probably
oppose the proposed changes.

My point is that tallking about "resistance to
change" glosses over and distracts us from the very
real operational mechanisms that do make change
difficult to implement. If we are ever going to get
good at organizational learning, we have got to get
past "resistance to change" and deal with the
operational mechanisms.

Barry Clemson
Center for Organizational Systems Engineering
Old Dominion University