What sources of resistance are anticipated when you attempt to make changes in an organization?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Tuckman's model of group development (1965) there are 5 stages that are to be anticipated when trying to bring about change in a relatively stable group. 

  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing
  • Transforming

(Tuckman, B. & Jenson, M., 1977, “Stages of small group development revisited,” Group and Organizational Studies, Number (2), p.419-427)

Forming refers to the "warm" welcome that should occur when a change is going to be planned. It entails interactive dynamics where the leader gets to see who is who within the group.

Storming is the part where, literally, "the honeymoon period" ends. Here, the leader breaks through and explains what changes are to take place. This is the resistance stage: employees may not all buy into the new plans while others will be angry and refuse to leave their comfort zone. However, when changes have to be made there is no other solution than to, using the law and the union on your side, establish the new rules. If someone is not happy, do not bend the rules; they can always make the choice of leaving...and many do.

Norming happens after storming; those who bought into the new scheme are ready to start over, and those who were resistant are either gone or maybe willing to become convinced that the new plan will work. This is when you break down the benefits of the new scheme. It is impossible to do this during storming, as too many emotions are confronted. Norming is "the morning after".

Performing is putting the plan into play. Now that everybody (or at least most people) are on the same sheet , they are more likely to perform optimally to achieve the common goals stated during storming.

Transforming is the last stage, where the products of performance result in new dynamics and interactions; it is new productivity.

If one were to change an organization the best part to change is employee accountability. This consists on rules and regulations to make employees more responsible for what they produce. For example, keeping attendance logs, productivity charts, correlating practices to productivity and allowing the employee to conduct self-assessments to decide how their performance is going.