The phrase, “change is painful, but inevitable” is quite common. While these words might sound cliché to some quarters, those who have experienced significant changes in their lifestyle or career can attest to the challenges and difficulties associated with alterations. Ordinarily, change means adopting a new lifestyle or operational method, necessarily translating to discarding old ways and techniques. Undoubtedly, letting go habits, methods that one is used to is a painful process, an aspect that explains why people are quick to resist amendments in lifestyle, work or practices.
Upon completing high school, I took a gap year in order to dedicate myself to a job that I had secured in a food delivery company operating in my neighbourhood. I developed a passion for cooking at a very early age. Thus, I thought working as an untrained chef would provide with an opportunity to interact and learn from skilled chefs and ultimately help improve my cooking skills. It is while in this job that I had my first-hand experience with organizational resistance to change. Due to the conveniences of technology, the management decided to adopt e-receipts and discard the traditional paper receipts that the company had used for more than a decade.
The proposal to shift from paper to electronic records was not well received by the majority of workers, especially those working in accounting and delivery departments. Although many attested that issuing paper receipts was time-consuming and cumbersome, the safety and reliability of electronic records raised eyebrows. The primary concern among those opposed to the new policy was that system failure would make it challenging to retrieve files if the need to arise. Besides, many expressed concerns that electronic receipts would raise significant accounting challenges, especially if an unscrupulous party hacked the system and altered the figures.
Generally, there was consensus among employees that before deploying electronic receipts, the management needed to ensure that all parties involved in operations had sufficient training to enable them to work efficiently with the new system. Additionally, the staff caucus emphasized the need to install security systems in order to prevent hacking and other harmful activities that would cause challenges. Consequently, the management decided to postpone the changes for an undefined period. The failure to adopt e-receipts in a fast-changing business environment caused substantial disadvantages. The majority of customers supported the use of electronic records since such systems enabled them to make orders at their convenience. Thus, the failure to enact system changes led to the loss of clients.
Application and Analysis
Generally, the fear of the unknown regarding the adoption of an electronic receipt system informed opposition. Iverson (2010) contends that although people might see the advantages of changes, the fear of the unknown can cause resistance and ultimately block such changes. For example, despite the assured benefits, one might feel that operating under a new system might cause challenges. This explains why despite appreciating the conveniences of e-receipts and the problems associated with paper records, employees in the case highlighted above opposed the proposed system changes.
Negative projections concerning proposed changes is also an aspect that explains resistance. According to Iverson (2010), negative past or future projections can inform resistance to change. For example, one might feel that since they failed in the past, there is a likelihood that they might fail once more. Besides, the feeling that enacting changes might occasion future challenges can inform resistance (Iverson, 2010). This aspect explains the system security concerns raised by employees in the food delivery firm. In this context, negative future projections about system challenges such as hacking and altering of records informed resistance.
As a leader, I would solve the challenge caused by resistance to system changes by first analysing and understanding the concerns raised by the employees. Davidson (2009) argues that managing resistance to change requires leaders to understand that reforms have a significant impact on employees. Therefore, it is prudent to involve them in the change process. Accordingly, system modifications should not be forced down people’s throats. In line with this argument, I would endeavour to educate employees on the specific steps involved in enacting the changes and their significance. Davidson (2009) contends that leaders should adopt a strategic change management plan that consists of communicating the importance and repercussions of change. Therefore, to allay the fears about system failures, I would explain the specific steps that the company intends to take in order to address such challenges.
By so doing, I would demonstrate to the concerned parties that despite the challenges associated with electronic systems, the management had reliable plans that would ensure that such problems never occurred and in case they did, their impact would be addressed appropriately. Davidson (2009) also argues that managing resistance to change necessitates leaders to outline the future state and the advantages and disadvantages of enacting changes. Accordingly, in order to calm the employees, I would explain to them the benefits of adopting an electronic system, especially in a fast-changing world.
Davidson, J. (2009). 5 Ways to Overcome Resistance to Change.
Iverson, L. (2010). The science of change management: The 7 phases of change & breaking through resistance to change. Issaquah, Wash.: Made for Success.