Individual Resistance to Change

Module 2 – Home


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Individual Resistance to Change
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Individual Resistance to Change

Modular Learning Outcomes


Upon successful completion of this module, the student will be able to satisfy the following outcomes:


•Case◦Evaluate the need to attend to the varied interests of different stakeholders when planning a major organizational change or transformation.


•SLP◦ Using a familiar personal or workplace change experience, contrast and compare the reasons that individuals may become reticent to change.

Discussion◦Determine how group identity may contribute to resistance to change.


Module Overview


In Module 2 of this course, we turn to individual resistance to change. In this module, we will explore the reasons that it is important to explore the interests of the various stakeholders affected by a major organizational change or transformation. We will explore why clear communication by leadership and trust of leadership are key to the success of major change initiatives.




Module 2 – Background


Individual Resistance to Change


*****Required Reading*****


Read the chapter entitled “People Barriers to Change” (pp. 41–48) in the Brown (2002) text:

Managing Change by Brown

****Brown, B. B. (2002). Easy step by step guide to managing change. Havant: Crimson eBooks. Retrieved from EBSCO eBook Collection.

****Watch the following video in which Heather Stagl discusses reasons for individual resistance to change that may not be so obvious:

****Stagl, H. (2015, Jun 30). How to deal with resistance to change. YouTube. Retrieved from


*******Then, read Chapter 3 (“OCC Dimension 1: Trustworthy Leadership”) in the Focusing on Organizational Change text. Not only must leadership be perceived by the organization’s employees as competent, but employees must also believe that the changes being enacted are being made in the best interests of the organization (that is, leadership must be trusted). Clearly, open communication is key in building trust. The html version of the text may be found here: Chapter 3: OCC Dimension 1: Trustworthy Leadership.


*****Finally, peruse the following journal article by Erwin and Garman. While this is a somewhat complex article, it is also an excellent summary of the behavioral and cognitive reasons for why individuals resist change. Note specifically how risk tolerance (certain individuals are more amenable to taking risks, thus they are also more willing to engage in change), communication, and trust in leadership play a role—for better or worse—in resistance to change.


Erwin, D. G., & Garman, A. N. (2010). Resistance to organizational change: Linking research and practice. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 31(1), 39-56. Retrieved from ProQuest.


Must Do::

This short video provides strategies for overcoming resistance to change:

Forward Focus. (2016, June 7). 7 strategies for overcoming resistance to change. YouTube. Retrieved from




MUST DO: Finally, read the following practical guide that provides a series of strategies for overcoming resistance to change:

Marker, A. (n.d.). 10 strategies you can use for overcoming resistance to change. Boise State. Retrieved from



Optional Reading


While the following guide is an optional reading, it will also serve as a helpful source for completion of the Case assignment. The guide is a compelling discussion of 10 mistakes that organizations make in organization transformation processes (organizational change). From the perspective of individual resistance to change, take particular note of the sections entitled “Relevance and Meaning” and “Human Dynamics.”


Anderson, L. A., & Anderson, D. (2014, April 7). Ten common mistakes: An overview. Change Leaders Network. Retrieved from


Chapter 3 of Darnell’s text is an excellent discussion of circumstances in which, while it may appear that individuals are resistant to change, the “resistance to change” is instead related a lack of understanding and knowledge as to why the change is necessary (and this is often due to poor communication about the change on the part of leadership).


Darnell, E. (2013). Leading successful changes in your business: Peakmake – A new model combining change management and change leadership. Hamburg: Anchor. Retrieved from EBSCO—eBook Collection.


The following article (in two parts) from the Change Leader’s Network may be helpful for completion of the SLP assignment, as they provide an excellent overview of employee resistance to change:


Andersen, L., & Andersen, D. A. (2015). Getting smart about employee resistance to change: Part One. Change Leader’s Network. Retrieved from


Andersen, L., & Andersen, D. A. (2015). Getting smart about employee resistance to change: Part Two. Change Leader’s Network. Retrieved from




Module 2 – Case (Assignment 1)

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