Change Management. Dealing with resistance during change processes in a company

Term Paper, 2011

35 Pages, Grade: 1.0


Table of contents

1 Change management study and structure of the work

2 Change Management - what is behind this term?
2.1. Definitions
2.2 Causes of organizational changes
2.2.1 External causes
2.2.2 Internal causes
2.3 Objectives of organisational change
2.4 The process of change

3 Resistance
3.1 What is resistance? definition
3.2 Causes of resistance
3.3 Types of resistance
3.3.1 Rational resistance
3.3.2 Political resistance
3.3.3 Emotional resistance
3.4 Features of resistance

4 Dealing with resistance in change processes
4.1 Principles for dealing with resistance
4.2 Measures to overcome resistance

5 Practical case
5.1 Description of the initial situation
5.2 Analysis and evaluation of the situation presented
5.3 Dealing with the current state
5.4 Continuation of the initial situation

6 Perspective and outlook


Internet sources:

1 Change management study and structure of the work

Change management plays a central role in many companies. In 2009, for example, of the 116 companies surveyed from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, 38% rate this topic as "very important", and a further 54% consider it "important". For comparison: In 2007, 36% of respondents considered change management to be "very important" and 50% to be "important". In the future, change management will be given even greater importance: Around 95% of the companies involved in the survey expect change management to play a significant role (both "very important" and "important") in 2012. In contrast, the number of those who attach a rather low to insignificant importance to change management is decreasing from year to year. It is therefore clear to see that change management is becoming increasingly relevant within management tasks (cf. Capgemini Consulting, online on the Internet). The reasons that cause such a change are obvious: The financial crisis and climate change in a globalising world are only a few of the reasons why companies are faced with completely new challenges that now have to be overcome. Change is an indispensable element for the permanent improvement of the performance and competitiveness of companies. Despite the knowledge of the need for organizational change, change management is encountering resistance from many sides within companies. Why this is so and how to deal with them is presented in the context of this term paper.

For this purpose, it is first defined what exactly is behind the term "change management" and what the reasons for its necessity lie. It describes both the goals of change and the process of change itself. The term "resistance" is then discussed, causes and types of resistance are presented and its characteristics are illustrated. After the handling of resistance in change processes has been explained, the knowledge gained is deepened on the basis of a selected practical case. The work concludes with a brief outlook on the future significance and development of change management.

2 Change Management - what is behind this term?

In order to deal with the topic of change management, it is first necessary to clarify the term itself and to point out the causes and goals of changes. Afterwards, the transformation process and its individual phases are presented.

2.1. Definitions

As the translation of the term into German suggests, change management is primarily about changes in the company. Vahs defines change management as the targeted analysis, planning, implementation, evaluation and ongoing further development of holistic change measures in the company." (Vahs 2009:292). In times of globalization, climate change or financial crisis, nothing seems to be as constant as change. It is an indispensable task for companies today and in the future to adapt to the now constantly changing framework conditions. In this context, the term change management describes the special management techniques that have developed in recent years to respond to changing internal or external conditions. It is important to consider the four fields of action culture, organization, strategy and technology in a dynamic and networked overall context. Change management is to be understood as a task that must be constantly set and that affects every individual within an organization (cf. Lauer 2010: 3). With the help of change management, the so-called change 2nd order or "radical change" is accomplished. This is a radical, paradigmatic change in the way an organization works as a whole, with a change in the frame of reference" (Staehle 1999:900). This essentially means nothing more than the making of small changes, which is carried out step by step (cf. Schuh 2006: 3). Change Management "[B]ezeichnet die Bewältigung einer radikal Veränderung in Unternehmen: profound, of far-reaching importance and long-term impact" (Baum 2009:63).

2.2 Causes of organizational changes

The causes to which the need for change can be attributed are manifold. They range, for example, from new technologies to constant changes in the market situation and financial crises (cf. Kraus, Becker et al. 2004: 16). Companies are always the most diverse Exposed to influences from all sides, to which they must react. These can be external causes on the one hand or internal causes on the other hand that affect the company. Both types are discussed below.

2.2.1 External causes

One speaks of external causes whenever an organization is confronted with an externally directed problem pressure, which is justified by the change in the corporate environment. It is impossible to gain a long-term foothold in the market as a company if it is unable to react to changes in its environment. Hardly any framework conditions remain unchanged over time, so that an organization is constantly forced to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions or the progressive change in social values.

Ever shorter product life cycles and ever lower sales prices are, for example, signs of the high pressures exerted on companies by the market and competition. But the increasing liberalisation of the world market and the strengthened globalisation are also forcing organisations to make changes. Another not inconsiderable fact, which requires companies to have the ability to transform, is the buyer behavior: Customer orientation and flexibility play a major role in dealing with clients. The social change in value that has taken place in recent decades and is still taking place has an impact on the world of work. The trend is moving away from the formerly dominant professional and performance orientation and towards a hedonistic attitude towards work. Communicative aspects are classified more importantly than moral virtues such as.B punctuality. In order to be able to use the potential of employees, it must be possible for organizations to adapt to this circumstance (cf. Vahs 2009: 312f).

2.2.2 Internal causes

However, the problems that give rise to organisational measures can also be of an internal nature. Internal causes have their origin in the transformation of the corporate world. The problem pressure is thus directed to the organization from the inside. There are also numerous examples of this, which will be briefly pointed out. An important source of internal problem pressure are wrong decisions made in the past. These are often expressed, for example, in a wrong sales policy or even a retarded new development of products, which can then ultimately have devastating consequences for a company and its economic situation. A new or changed corporate strategy also has an impact on the organization. Here it is absolutely essential that structures that serve to implement new strategies are designed flexibly, because with the help of old strategies, innovations can only be realized in a few cases. New leadership concepts such as "lean management" also trigger considerable changes in organizations.

Problems that often arise in the form of power struggles, high fluctuation rates or insufficient identification with the company are due to the individual organization members, who represent an additional source of internal problem pressure (cf. Vahs 2009: 314f).

2.3 Objectives of organisational change

The survey of 178 commercial enterprises from different sectors and size classes showed that companies pursue different purposes with the measures for change. The following figure (Fig. 1) briefly summarizes these different goals:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig.1: Objectives of change measures.

Source: Vahs 2009: 316

As can be clearly seen from the graphic representation, securing competitiveness is the central goal of organizational change. The second place is occupied by the goal of increasing profitability, followed by the increase in sales in third place. The reduction of personnel costs, a stronger market and customer orientation as well as the improvement of process quality and an increase in market share are mentioned as further, but not so elementary classified goals. The other main objectives include objectives such as increasing employee motivation or leadership quality. However, in many cases it is the case that in order to achieve a main objective (e.g. safeguarding competitiveness), the implementation of secondary objectives (e.g. cost reduction and increase in turnover) is first sought in order to be able to better achieve the overarching main objective (cf. Vahs 2009: 316). As part of the Change Management Study 2010, the companies involved in the study were asked which they would name as the main goal of the change if only the naming of a single goal were possible. The results of the survey show: The primary goals of most companies are to increase growth and reduce costs (cf. Capgemini 2010; 15).

2.4 The process of change

Krüger describes in five phases the activities that accompany a change process. The process of profound and far-reaching change is described in the five phases of initialization, conception, mobilization, implementation and consolidation, as can be seen from the following figure (Fig. 2).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig. 2: Conversion process and conversion management.

Source: Kruger, p. 38

In the first phase, the initialization within the management circle, the necessity of change is first determined in order to activate the bearers of change afterwards. It is important to win promoters for change, which should carry out the exercise of a significant influence on the course and result of the change process. The activation of the bearers of change is considered the trigger for the process. During the Conception phase the conversion objectives are defined and a corresponding programme of measures is drawn up. It therefore defines what is to be achieved and in what way. Then it goes in the phase of mobilization to communicate the concept of change and To create the willingness and ability to change. All parties involved and affected persons should be confronted with the intended changes and with the help of suitable communication the willingness to change should be ensured. To the tasks in the phase of implementation it is important to first carry out priority tasks and then devote ourselves to the follow-up projects that complete the change. In this phase, all employees are involved in the borderline case. The conclusion of the transformation process is the phase of Consolidation. Within this phase, it is important to anchor conversion results and to ensure the willingness and ability to change. The topic of change is made a permanent topic (cf. Krüger 2009: 70ff.).


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Change Management. Dealing with resistance during change processes in a company
University of Applied Sciences Hamburg
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change, management, dealing
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Claudia Weber (Author), 2011, Change Management. Dealing with resistance during change processes in a company, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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