[Authentic] Assignment – Literature Review example

Details: Literature Review example
The following is an excerpt from:
Barnard, M. and Stoll, N. 2010,‘Organisational Change Management: A rapid literature review’,Centre for Understanding Behaviour Change, University of Bristol, UK.
Resistance to change
Fundamental to the success of organisational change is the acceptance of the change byemployees. Within this context, the work of Kubler-Ross (1973), who argued that all humansgo through 5 stages of ‘grief’ (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) whenfaced with a loss or change, has been seen as relevant and has been applied to themanagement of organisational change. Wiggins (2009) uses the model to help guidecommunication and support during the period of change, which she suggests should betailored to the stage of change that the employees have reached. For example, after thenews of change is delivered, employees need to be given information to tackle their denial.Once the information has sunk in and they experience anger, bargaining and depression heyrequire various kinds of support. Once employees have begun accepting the situation theyneed a vision to put their commitment into.
Others take a more individualist approach to studying resistance to change, arguingindividuals reactions are highly complex and vary greatly. One advocate of such thinking isShaulOreg who proposed that resistance to change is based both on personality and alsothe context in which the change occurs. In his initial study (2003) he developed and tested ascale called the “Resistance to Change Scale” (RTC) which he conceptualised as a stablepersonality trait. In his following study he found a positive and significant relationshipbetween the individuals’ RTC score and their affective and behavioural resistance to aparticular organisational change they were subject to.
As well as personality determinants affecting the level of resistance engendered byorganisational change, Oreg also found that context variables played a significant role. Trustin management was found to have a particularly strong effect on affective, cognitive andbehavioural resistance, a finding that emphasises the importance of good managementskillsthroughout a period of change. However, the study also found that an increased amount ofinformation given to individuals about the change resulted in a worse evaluation of thechange and an increased willingness to act against it. This last finding led Oreg to proposethat there might be an optimal amount of information that can be given, after whichemployees feel overwhelmed. He also hypothesises that if the change has negativeimplications for the individual it would not be surprising if hearing more about the change
increased resistance to it. This finding again highlights the important role of management, inthis case regarding their communication strategy. It could also be argued, in line withemergent theory and OD advocates, that to make successful decisions about such issues anin-depth knowledge of the strategy, structures, personnel and culture of the organisation isrequired.
One strategy for reducing resistance in employees mentioned frequently in organisationalchange literature is to involve the employees in the change or to empower them to makechanges themselves. Empirical studies have supported the efficacy of this strategy forsuccessful implementation of change, especially within the public sector (Warwick, 1975,Denhardt and Denhardt, 1999; Poister and Streib, 1999). However, employee involvementalone is not sufficient with managers still playing a critical role encouraging and rewardinginnovation and expressing support the change (Thompson and Sanders, 1997). Bruhn, Zajazand Al-Kazemi (2001) concur with this view, advising organisations that the involvement ofemployees should be widespread and span all phases of the change process, but alsoemphasising the importance of a supportive and engaged management team.
Kotter and Schlesinger (1979) proposed a more emergent view to tackling employeeresistance, stating that the circumstances of the change and the content of the change itselfwill vary largely between organisations and that this should determine the appropriateresponse. They outline a number of approaches from education to coercion, describing whoand when to use them to reduce resistance, and details the advantages and drawbacks ofeach.
It is worth mentioning at this point that in terms of strategies for addressing change it maybe useful to consider the different personality ‘types’ that employees may correspond to.There is a vast literature on personality types, and a number of widely used tests fordetermining which type an individual is (see for example Myers 1998 and Bensinger 2000),though these are not without their critics. From an organisational change point of view, it isworth considering whether a particular set of employees might be more likely to be aparticular personality type and adju…
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