Barriers to Organizational Change
Organizational change is something that everyone has to deal with, but many barriers prevent the change from happening.
Types of Organizational Barriers
Individual Barriers to Change
On the individual level, it’s important to realize that many people are resistant to change because change creates fears.
The big fear is job or salary loss. If a company here is that they’re going to be acquired by another company, panic can set in because that usually means that a lot of jobs we’re going to be lost. And that’s going to cause a massive disruption in the life of many people.
Or if the organization is not doing well or for some other reason, there’s a rumor of a salary that owners will be lowered that creates a lot of fear.
Of course, it creates anger and a sense of injustice when it happened. But the idea that a change is going to cause a loss of could possibly lead to a job loss or salary loss is going to be really a significant source of fear.
Now, change can also be a source of the fear of the unknown because people lose their competence when things change.
If we change, we’re going to start using some new software that really competent people the old software might not be skilled in the latest software. This is especially true for older employees.
They invest their career into the old software, and now they’re going to be starting all over again, and they’re older, and it’s harder to learn and so that can create a lot of fear because they might not be able to understand it.
We could also say that the fear of the inability to adapt is also that people don’t know if they’ll be able to make the change. The change might be imposed, but they might not be able to do it, resulting in a loss of status.
They were experts before respected by others. Now, with this change, they might not be respected at all because all of the skills that gave them status are no longer relevant.
Another source of fear changes in social relationships. Suppose a group has become close together. They enjoy being together, and they like seeing each other.
They provide each other with social support. But if a change is going to separate them, then that could be a huge source of stress, a huge source of fear that causes people to want to resist the change.
Organizational Barriers to Change
A lot of this occurs because organizations are systems. There’s what sort of structural inertia.
An organization is designed to be stable if something happens, if sales go down or if the competition introduces a new product. The company is intended to be able to handle that.
This comes back to the point of equilibrium so that things aren’t to affect it—this point of equilibrium, this process of stabilizing.
The system is designed to resist, be resistant to change, and that’s what happens a lot of time.
When somebody in authority institutes a change, and people just adapt and work around it and really do not have any desired outcome, that is wanted because people work to keep on doing what they had been done before.
Structural inertia is when it happens on a companywide level.
There is also team inertia were just if some new changes introduced to a team, everybody might say, Yeah, yeah, we’re going to do it. But no, nobody is not going to do anything different.
They know what they do and Works good enough, and therefore, an attempt to introduce the change doesn’t occur.
Another organizational level barrier change is that there could be threats to the power balance. People generally want power.
And if there is any threat that risks taking some of their authority or power away and giving it to somebody else, they’re going to resist that.
Now some people will say, Oh, yeah, I’ll give up my responsibilities, authority, and power for the good of the organization.
But others are more concerned about their own good in their own status in their own power, and they will work hard to resist anything that will take away their power.
Past Unsuccessful Change
Efforts are also a big barrier to change. Yeah, we’ve done this before, we have these changes proposed every year, this is just a bunch of new buzzwords, let him talk about it.
Let the people in charge get all excited about it. We’ll act like we’ll do something different, but we know how to do our job, just keep doing what we are supposed to do.
So past unsuccessful change efforts can also be an organizational level barrier to change. If a change needs to occur for an organization to stay competitive, to grow, to adapt to its environment
Strategies for Lowering the Barriers To Change
One is the people at the highest level of the organization need to get buy-in from the organization’s different power holders.
They can’t just get buy-in from the lowest level, but they’ve got buy-in from the influential people. The powerful people have to see what the advantage of making these changes are.
The leader should focus on getting buy-in from powerful people that could be a team leader who needs to focus on getting buying and from the most influential people in the team, so you always need to focus on the most influential people.
Get them to agree that the change is good before getting everybody to agree. You need to provide information to reduce fears and justify the change.
People need to get lots of information to understand why the changes something good or whites necessary, and the information has been timely and clear and relevant and persuasive.
The leader should always be getting employees’ inputs before the change and during the change process. Communication can stay open, and any additional changes that need to be made can be made and that the employees continue to have a sense of worth as they’re being listened to.
Another good strategy is to reward successful change efforts. If the change actually occurs, provide some rewards to those resistant to it can see while there were positive consequences to doing it so many times there’s talk about change.
People make pseudo efforts or minimal efforts to make the change. Nothing changes, and there’s no consequences until the next year when they talk about making similar changes.
We need to create a culture that expects change.
The world changes a lot. Technology changes are expected. Organizations will need to change, and this needs to be continually communicated before any emergencies, or any uh, painful changes need to be made.
It needs to be part of the organization’s culture to continually adapt to all that happening around them.