Assessing the Causes of Employee Resistance to Change in the Implementation of Business Processes Re-engineering in an Organization

Master's Thesis, 2014

98 Pages, Grade: MERIT







2.1 Concept and theoretical framework
2.2 Business process reengineering
2.3 Business Process Reengineering and Information Technology
2.4 Business Process Reengineering and causes of resistance to Change
2.5 BPR success/Failure factors
2.5.1 BPR success/failure factors related to change management systems and culture
2.5.2 BPR success/failure factors related to management support
2.6. Resistance to change
2.6.1 Identifying resistance
2.6.2 Causes of resistance to change
2.6.3 Organizational change
2.6.4 Causes of organizational change
2.7 Typology of change
2.7.1 Models of Change
2.7.2 Kotter’s Eights Steps to change
2.7.3 Bridge’s Transition Model
2.7.4 Roger’s Technology Adoption Curve
2.7.5 Kubler-Ross Five Stage Model (The Change Curve)
2.7.6 Prosci’s ADKAR Model

3.0 Introduction
3.1 Population, Sample Size and Sampling Technique
3.2 Data Collection
3.3 Research Design
3.3.1 Questionnaire Design
3.4 Research Instrument
3.5 Analysis
3.6 Limitations to Data Collection
3.7 Overview of OISL, Ghana
3.7.1 Company Summary
3.7.2The Company’s Mission, Vision and Core values
3.7.3 Products, Services, Markets and competition
3.7.4 Organizational Strategy Financial Strategy Human Resources Strategy Training & Development Infrastructure Strategy IT and MIS Strategy Operations Strategy Marketing Strategy Lending Methodology/Strategy
3.7.5 Organizational Design and Structure

4.0 Introduction
4.1 Demographic characteristics of respondents
4.1.1 Gender of respondents
4.1.2 Age of respondents
4.1.3 Marital status of respondents
4.1.4 Educational level of respondents
4.1.5 Working experience of respondents
4.1.6 Rank of respondents
4.1.7 Division of respondents
4.2 Knowledge of Information technology
4.2.1 Information Technology Included in Respondent’s Education
4.2.2 Training on Information technology or computed related
4.2.3 Working experience in the use of computer
4.3 Implementation of the process change
4.3.1 Processes involved at OISL
4.3.2 Number of the processes that have undergone changes
4.3.3 Kind of process changes that occurred
4.3.4 Implementing the Process Change
4.3.5 Reasons behind the process change
4.4 Causes of employees’ resistance to change in the implementation of business process re-engineering
4.4.1 Employees reaction to new process change
4.4.2 Why employees did not embrace the new process
4.4.3 To what extent does process changes creates inconvenience for staffs
4.5 Management Provision of Support during the Implementation of Business Process Re-engineering
4.5.1 Supervisors/managers Awareness of Change being implemented
4.5.2 Supervisors/managers Support for Employees when Changes is Introduced
4.6 Strategy measures to overcome the causes of employees’ resistance to change in the implementation of business process re-engineering
4.6.1 Educating and training of employees
4.6.2 Management refocusing on their change efforts onto the process
4.6.3 Widening the circle of involvement
4.6.4 Effective communication
4.6.5 Reward system
4.7 Discussion of findings

5.0 Introduction
5.1 Summary
5.1.1 Summary of the Study
5.1.2 Study’s Findings




I dedicate this project to God for his goodness, mercies, and wisdom to have undergone the process of this work successfully. I also want my mother, Madam Mary Avinu, my big sister, Mrs Emmanuella Mawutor and my Pastors, Ps, Johnwealth and Ps Doxa Okletey for their support and encouragement throughout the period of my study.


This research thesis would not have been possible without the help of God who ordered my thought along the path of the study until its completion. I wish to express my profound gratitude to my supervisor Mr. Kester Quist-Aphetsi who offered so much guidance and encouragement with patience in spite of his busy schedules as a Lecturer to see to the completion of the study.

I am very grateful to Anthony Abaidoo who was personally involved in the study providing various materials for literature review and also as data capturing. I also want to thank my friend, Agyena Kesse for his immense contributing in editing and data analysis of this study. I also want to thank all branch managers and their teams for helping in the administering questionnaires for data gathering.


The dynamism, especially in the Ghanaian market has forced players at all levels to consider competitive strategies such as business process re-engineering to rightly position them in the market. Also, the intense world-wide competition in today’s service industry motivates many companies to reengineer their old fashioned processes to achieve new heights of success. The study is therefore undertaken to investigate what could be the root cause employee resistance to change when deploying strategies such as Business process reengineering in Opportunity International Savings and Loans Ltd.

The study was designed as a quantitative survey, with questionnaires as the means of data gathering. Using the simple random sampling method, the study selected 300 respondents from OISL, out of a population of 750. The simple random sampling method was used to avoid bias in the sampling and ultimately, the results. The study used the SPSS and Microsoft Excel to analyse the data.

From the analyses of data, the study concluded that the principal causes of employee resistance were inadequate training, the perception that the change process is an imposition and the changes being inconvenient the daily routine of employees. In addition technical hitches and wrong timing leads to resistance to change. Using the ADKAR model, the study also concluded that employee involvement, communication and training are clearly the weaknesses of the change management methodology of the case study organization. The study also concluded that necessary support OISL management provide for employees during the implementation of business process re-engineering were far lower than the expectations of employees. The study therefore recommended that adequate training and development, democratization of the change process, better communication strategy to overcome resistance to change.


Table 4.1: Age group of respondents

Table 4.2: Rank of employee current job role

Table 4.3: Was IT included in your education

Table 4.4: Have you had IT or computer related training

Table 4.5: Processes involved in employees current job

Table 4.6: Processes that have undergone changes

Table 4.7: Kind of process changes that occurred

Table 4.8: How the process change was implemented

Table 4.9: Objectives behind the process change

Table 4.10: Which of the following describe how you reacted to the new process change

Table 4.11: Why employees did not embrace the new process

Table 1: One-Sample Statistics

Table 2: One-Sample Test




Business operations over the past few decades have witness a number strategic interventions all with the overall goal of seeking to remain effective, efficient and sustainable. These intervention most often than not are a response to dealing with organizational life cycle issues just to ensure sustained growth as well as being able to gain competitive advantage in the market. Change is now a common phenomenon in most organizations today as a response to both internal and external business realities. Organizations are positioning themselves to remain competitive by putting in place measures to deal with its internal weaknesses, capitalize on internal strength as well as external opportunities and combat threats. The subject of diverse unending change and associated issues is therefore the evitable for managers in today’s business arena. Change can both be planned and unplanned, expected and unexpected depending on the trigger of the change and can affect all areas of an organization including the people, processes, policy, structure and culture etc.

Coch and French (1948) said “frequent changes in people’s work are necessary to keep up with competitive conditions and technological development”. In the same line, Charles F. Kettering holder of more than 100 patents and former head of research for General Motors said “If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong”; highlighting the role of change to succeed.

The several technical innovations, the advancement of technology and development that surrounds us means that there is always a better way of doing things and therefore the need for change. “The progressing globalization and competition increases the pressure on organization’s for continuous adaptation: to shifts in market structure, deregulation or legal initiatives and to quickly grasp evolving opportunities” (Fay and Lührmann, 2004). The results from change efforts, however, fall too often behind expectations. “70 percent of all the corporate reengineering and change programs that started the year 1994 failed” (Reynolds, 1994). This is why it remains incumbent on scientists and researchers to gain a better understanding of change processes and of factors that contribute to its success or failure.

Business Process Reengineering(BPR) is a common change implementation in most organizations and involves changes in structures and processes within the business environment. BPR however, cannot be discussed without a mention of the subject of people’s involvement for that matter, employee resistance to change. BPR implementation has the tendency of affecting the entire technological, human, and organizational structure of an organization with one form of change or the other when BPR comes on scene.

BPR implementation in most organization has been a response triggered by the instability and intensive competition in the globalized and liberalized trade markets. And this is because competition is increasing around variable such as price, products and service quality and promptness of service delivery etc. All these variables are driving organizational changes and transformation resulting in entire business processes and structures being changed.

In a typical business environment, delivery of a service or product involves various intertwined steps, process and activities that use people, information, and other resources to create value for customers. These business processes or steps are characterized by three elements: the inputs, (data such as customer inquiries or materials), the processing of the data or materials(which may consume time, money and other resources) and the outcome (the end service, product/result). The most problematic part of these is the processing because of having to bridge the gap between customer requirements and the service or product being delivered. Business process reengineering is about tweaking the processing part so as to minimize the resources being expended in delivering the expected results. Business Process Reengineering implementation in companies, size notwithstanding with it associated complications requires learning and planning taking into consideration various success/failure factors so as to minimize chances of failure. According to Hammer and Champy (1993) BPR is defined as "The fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service and speed".

The workforce (employees) being the key drivers of productivity in any working environment plays a vital role in BPR implementation success or failure. In that context the contribution of employees in BPR implementation cannot be over emphasized. Their buy-in and acceptance to any BPR initiative is very crucial and vital if it is to succeed or fail. If employees are to sit on the fence or exhibit resistance to change and this is not addressed appropriately it may have damaging effect on the organization when implementing BPR. Resistance to change in such situation is damaging in the sense that it may result in:

Low productivity

Increased absenteeism

Disengagement with work

Sabotaging the change initiative

Poor morale among employees

Poor result due to errors.

“The failure of many change initiatives such as business process reengineering can be directly traced to employee resistance to change” (Bovey and Hede, 2001; Del Val and Fuentes, 2003). Resistance to change is the most frequently cited implementation problem encountered by management when introducing change (Bovey and Hede, 2001). It results in costs and delays in the change process that are difficult to anticipate, but must definitely be taken into consideration (Del Val and Fuentes, 2003).

However, in order to diagnose the true cause of resistance to change, it is necessary to take into consideration the role of stakeholders (the people affected by the change or playing one role or the other). Usually, management has a tendency to neglect or ignore the human dimension when implementing change. They only focus on the technical aspects, not recognizing or understanding how the human element influences the success or failure of change. “Change requires the participation of the people in the organization who first need to change themselves before organizational change can succeed” (Bovey and Hede, 2001).When implementing change, management thus needs to be aware of the ways in which personal issues can impact on an employee’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Diagnosing employee resistance when implementing change is therefore an important task that sometimes requires one to go beyond the outward aspects of an individual’s behaviour so as to address the unconscious motivations to achieve a change of attitude (Bovey and Hede, 2001).

This research would therefore assess the causes of employee resistance to change in business process reengineering implementation in an organization so as to make recommendation on how to minimize so as improve the speed of realization of expected BPR benefits.


Employees must respond to continuous small scale changes that happen on an almost daily basis, as well as discrete large-scale change initiatives that completely alter the way they do their jobs (Weick&Quin, 1999).Organisational change brings out a number of reactions/behaviours from employees. According to (Ford, Ford &D’Amelio, 2008) studies on change tend to take a one-sided view or bias regarding change. It is assumed that change agents (unbiased observers) are doing the right thing meanwhile the change recipients are the barriers/obstacles to implementing that change.

Opportunity International savings and Loans (OISL) – Ghana has over the past five years implemented a number of internal business process re-engineering strategies and most of which has the objective to bring about some kind of improvement(efficiency) in products and services delivery to customer as well as financial benefits to the institution. However, most often than not these strategies either brings on board a new problems leading to looking for an alternative solution or they do not provide the expected benefits on time per the projections made at the time of deployment. A major cause of this situation is the refusal of employees to work with such new information technology (IT) driven approaches when brought on board. The problem could be looked at, at different levels including the organization itself, the kind of employees hired and the management approach being used in managing the organization and change.

The research being undertaken seeks to investigate what could be the root cause of the problem and to make recommendations in addressing the various side of the problem.


As the business world become increasingly complex through the development of new technologies, methods, and procedures, employees are expected to not adopt but embrace change as a way of their working life. It is upon this premise the general objective of the research was to assess the causes of employee resistance to change in business process re-engineering implementation. The specific objectives of the study are:

1. To determine the causes of employees’ resistance to change in the implementation of business process re-engineering at OISL.
2. To determine the strategy measures to overcome the causes of employees’ resistance to change in the implementation of business process re-engineering at OISL.
3. To determine the necessary support OISL management provide for employees during the implementation of business process re-engineering.


In order to attain the above set objectives of the study the following research questions were posed:

1. What are the causes of employees’ resistance to change in the implementation of business process re-engineering at OISL?
2. What are the strategy measures to overcome the causes of employees’ resistance to change in the implementation of business process re-engineering at OISL?
3. To what extent does OISL management provide the necessary support to employees during the implementation of business process re-engineering?


The technological “revolution” in the world of business requires that employees embrace new ways of doing things and impose dramatic revisions to how they must complete their job responsibilities. The study is to gain better understanding of the underlining factors causing resistance to change. It will describe the concept according to the different perspectives and reflect upon both views. Moreover, it will analyze the sources and manifestations of resistance to change, including some short empirical examples to allow better assimilation of the concepts by readers.

The output of this study contributes to knowledge and literature in the subject under investigation. It is immensely useful as a source of reference to researchers, academics, students, policy makers, marketing professionals and other stakeholders interested in how employee resistance to change affects the business world in developing countries such as Ghana.

To the management of OISL Ghana, the findings and results in this study provides a more reliable scientific measure and perspective for describing and evaluating the level of their employee resistance to change. It also serves as a source of information that brings to the fore the switching intentions of their current employees. Therefore providing the empirical support for management strategic decisions in several critical areas of their operations, and above all, provides a justifiably valid and reliable guide to designing workable service delivery improvement strategies for creating and delivering good employee skills and ability to embrace change in this technological world so as to achieve sustainable business growth in Ghana.

To policy makers like government agencies such as the Ministry of Finance, the finding and results of this study provides insights and a more reliable guide to monitoring the cause and impact of employee resistant to change in the financial sector to stakeholders like investors, shareholders, employees, pressure groups, consumer associations, etc., the study provides information that suggests to the improvement of employees knowledge to new technology.


This study utilized both qualitative and survey methodologies. A simple random sampling (SRS) was employed in the selection of the sample for the study. A well-structured and defined questionnaire was prepared and the various parameters of employees’ resistance to change in the implementation of business process re-engineering at OISL were framed in questions that were self-administered by personnel involve in the internal business processes of the case study organization.

For easy understanding and interpretation of data from the study, data collected from the field were summarized and presented in tables showing frequencies and percentage counts. The results were represented using different methods of data presentation such as bar charts, histograms, frequency distributions and percentages.


he study is limited to employee resistance to change in business process reengineering implementation using Opportunity International Savings and Loans (OISL) as a case study. OISL has branches in almost all the regions of Ghana. This study however focuses on 33 branches in Ghana. It is a case study approach of one particular financial institution (i.e. OISL Ghana) and does not cover other financial institutions to reflect the entire industry evaluation to employee resistance to change. Hence the result will not be generalized but its findings will be placed in the relevant context of the individual financial institution studied and other closely related institutions.


The study is limited to Opportunity International Savings and Loans Limited. The study therefore took into consideration the impact this financial institution will have had on the industry in respect of the relevant activities discussed in this study.

The main limitations of this study are constraints of resources, access, and time. The finance and material resource needed for a sample size for this study is inadequate.

Respondents like managers felt reluctant to give certain information due to the sensitive nature of such information and the sensitive nature of their positions in the company. Besides, they had the fear that competitors could be using the outcome of the study for competitive advantage.

In addition, the researcher has to combine academic work with his regular profession. Moreover, costs in terms of printing, photocopying, binding as well as opportunity cost incurred without the requisite bursary from government.

Despite the above limitations, added to financial constraints, the researchers’ put their utmost best to make this study a success.


The thesis is structured into five chapters. The introductory chapter, Chapter one covers the Background to the study, Problem statement and Purpose of the study, Research questions, Significance of the study, Limitations of the study and organization of the study. The chapter gives a brief description of the research and highlights salient discussions on assessing the causes of employee resistance to change in business processes re-engineering implementation in an organization.

Chapter two dealt with review of related and relevant literatures. The chapter discusses various literatures related to business process reengineering and causes of employee resistance to change in organizations. Chapter three is the Research Methodology section which focuses on the research designs, data sources: population, sample size, sampling technique, research instruments and data collection.

Chapter four presents the analysis and discussion of the results of the study. Chapter five presents a brief summary of the study and the main findings, conclusions with regards to the new knowledge derived from the research and recommendations for improving on future Business process reengineering implementation as well measures to minimize or eliminate causes of employee resistance to change during such implementations. The final chapter discusses their implications of findings for future research purposes.



In order to understand the causes of employee attitude depicting resistance to change in the implementation of business process reengineering, it was necessary to explore existing literature in two areas. Relevant literatures with view on the subject matter of this research work has therefore been discussed to connect the research objectives on causes of employee resistance to change when implementing business process reengineering; and for the purpose of orderly presentation; related literature such as those which impinged on the research problem, definition and typologies of the study has been reviewed.

Literature Review provides the foundation upon which a research is built to confirm, compliment, counter or establish any new trends that possibly might have emerged. This research proceeds accordingly to review literature that is relevant to the research topic.

2.1 Concept and theoretical framework

2.2 Business process reengineering

Organizational business processes in recent times are have undergone changes that makes them different and improved than they were 100 years ago as science and technology has brought various interventions and innovative approach of doing things in a better way.

Business process re-engineering according to the Oxford dictionary is “The process of restructuring a company’s organization and methods, especially so as to exploit the capabilities of computers" (Oxford dictionaries). A business process according to (Habib & Wazir, 2012) is “A crowd of interrelated tasks that creates value”.

People and processes remain the foundations of any organization in today’s service dominating world. However “if people are and working hard, but the business processes are not good and remain as non-value-adding activities, organizational performance will be poor” (Peter & Sohal, 1999). Hammer and Champy, (1993) also stated that “Business Process Reengineering focuses on processes and not on tasks, jobs or people”. As Lindet, (1994) stated, “all organizations whether service giving or manufacturing are struggling to meet the tough and new competitive standards of speed, quality, efficiency and increased productivity in order to become more competitive, and flexible to meet the desired standard”. Creating an increase in efficiency, productivity and profitability, all requires a drastic change in the design of the organization's prol2cesses to ensure judicious utilization of resources.

Business process “reengineering is a useful tool that has been adopted by and hailed as one of the current major drivers of change within many organizations” (Graham, 2010). It is playing a vital role in the enhancement of productivity and efficiency of many organizations in the world. “Reengineering primary goals aimed at to reduce wastage, improve efficiency and ultimately reduce costs” (Lotfollah et al., 2012). “And an increase in consumer requirements for both product and service efficiency and effectiveness has resulted in Business Process Reengineering” (Al-Mashir et al., 2001). “Reengineerinl2g also helps organizations to throw away their old fashioned processes to achieve new heights of success” (Jemal et al., 2011). According to Balasubramanian, (2010) “Business Process Reengineering means not only change but dramatic change”. A dramatic change implies a change affecting the overall organizational structures, management systems, employee responsibilities, performance metrics, incentive systems, skill development, and the use of information technology.

During the industrial age of mass production, organizations and companies were built around Adam Smith's brilliant discovery of: 'work should be broken down into its simplest components and be assigned to specialists (the notion of division of labor and specialization)'. However, today’s world requires organizations to build working systems and processes that can make them responsive, flexible and customer focused (ensuring the customer’s experience of product/service quality is paramount). These new features of organizations (responsiveness, flexibility and customer focus) demands a shift of work approach from task based to process based/process centering in order to provide seamless products and services.

Business Process Reengineering gained fame and prominence during the early 1990s as an business turn around approach in the work of writers such as Davenport and Short (1990), Hammer (1990), Hammer and Champy (1993). The business process reengineering concept has gained recognition and has become very topical in many organizational, management and information technology literatures.

According to Berihu Assefas’ (2009) work, “Business Process Reengineering began as a private sector technique to help organizations fundamentally rethink how they do their work in order to dramatically improve customer service, cut operational costs, and become world-class competitors”. According to Al- Mashari, (2001) “an increase in consumer requirements for both product and service efficiency and effectiveness has resulted in BPR”. From the early 1990s “Process Redesign or Business Process Reengineering has been embraced by organizations as a means to cut non-value-added activities” (Grover & Malhotra, 1997).

As stated by Hammer and Champy, (1993) “the reengineering of business processes is concerned with fundamentally rethinking and redesigning business processes to obtain dramatic and sustaining improvements in quality, cost, service, lead-times, outcomes, flexibility and innovation which guarantee the performance of the organization in the world of competition”.

Business process reengineering has become a fairly accepted approach today in the reform effl2orts of many organizations but, “not all BPR projects have been successful in achieving dramatic performance gains” (Shin and Donald, 2002). “BPR has been implemented in both service and manufacturing firms in different countries around the world” (Shin and Jemella, 2002). Successful implementation of BPR is capable of bringing many benefits to the organization, terms of customer satisfaction, productivity, higher flexibility, increased employee retention and improved coordination, and improved competitive advantage. “BPR helps organizations to achieve new heights of success by dramatically changing existing business processes” (Holland and Kumar, 1995)

2.3 Business Process Reengineering and Information Technology

Business process reengineering cannot be separated from its dependence on information technology(IT) and therefore the need to discuss the relationship. The world of information technology were the first to explore how to automate various manual business processes which resulted in the emerge of the term “reengineering” now considered a broader change process.

IT has penetrated the office and services environment since the late 1970s. The shift from mainframe to PC based technology has broken down the communication barriers between organizations and their customers.

The advancement of mobile technology (cellular technology) has enabled solutions such as cell phone banking solutions in the banking industry that enables customers to perform basic transactions such balance enquiries, transfers etc. on their own without having to go to the banks premises. There has emerge other solutions such as point of sale(POS) devices enabling field cash collection from customers in which transactions reflects in the account real time at the instance of completion of the transaction. With advent of tablet technology such as android and Ipad etc. several transactions that were hitherto limited to bank premises can now be perform right at the door step of customers enable them to reduce time wastage visiting banking premises. The internal also provides banks with the option of internet banking where customers can perform various transactions (transfers etc.) on their own anywhere in the world. Managers and employees are now able to perform, design and control complex business information systems from various departments and locations. Information technology has become so powerful that it now able to actually create alternative and multiple choice process design options, rather than simply supporting it. Bill Gates argues in his book, Business @ the Speed of Thought, “that if the 1980s were about quality and the 1990s were about reengineering, then the 2000s will be about velocity”. Gates advocates the need for a complete digitalization of all aspects of human life. He argues “that to be successful in the digital age, companies need to develop a new digital infrastructure similar to the human nervous system”.

BPR is a methodology that promotes change and introduces new processes and new styles of working. So certain requirements in its implementation will be required to make its associated changes possible. These are known as enablers and may be defined as elements that act as vehicles for processes to change. “IT promotes changes in organizations, mainly changes in the nature of the work, the integration of business functions, and the transformation of competitive forces” (Scott-Morton, 1991). “IT can help make the changes promoted by reengineering, and it can be considered as an enabler of BPR. “There are several studies that show IT as a fundamental capacitor of process redesigning” (Naisbitt and Aburdene, 1985; Davenport and Short, 1990; Hammer, 1990; Harrington, 199).

2.4 Business Process Reengineering and causes of resistance to Change

Hammer (1990) and Davenport and Short (1990), stated in their publication that “many organisations have reported dramatic benefits gained from the successful implementation of BPR. Companies like Ford Motor Co., CIGNA, and Wal-Mart are all recognised as having successfully implemented BPR”.

Despite the significant growth of BPR, organisations embarking often encounter challenges that render their BPR projects not to achieve their intended result. According to Hammer and Champy (1993) “as many as 70 percent do not achieve the dramatic results they seek”. “BPR has on a number of occasions been at the top of the list of management issues in annual surveys of critical information systems reflecting executives' failure to either implement properly or acquire the benefits of BPR” (Alter, 1994). BPR interventions can greatly increase effectiveness, productivity and efficiency as it can reduce processing time, cost, improved on quality and greater customer satisfaction. However, it will require a fundamental repositioning of the organisation for this to be possible. This therefore imply it complex implementation process needs to guard against a number of factors (BPR success/failure factors) for a seamless and successful implementation.

A number of factors according to Majed Al-Mashari and Mohamed Zairi, 1999 have been attributed as the possible cause of BPR success/failure, realization/non realization of intended outcomes and benefits. These factors include;

Change of management systems and culture

Management support

Organisational structure

BPR project management

IT infrastructure

Relating these factors of BPR to the subject of employee resistance to change in the implementation of BPR, all the above mentioned factors it can be concluded that all are likely causes(direct and indirect) of employee resistance to change depending on the organization in question. However, for the purpose of this study, out of the five BPR success/failure factors identified, the change management systems and culture and management support will be discussed as they relates directly to the research questions of the study.

2.5 BPR success/Failure factors

2.5.1 BPR success/failure factors related to change management systems and culture

Under the factors related to change of management systems and culture the following has been established as areas of possible cause of failure or slow realization of BPR benefits

Problems in communication: “Inadequate communication of need to change” (Davenport, 1993, Grover et al., 1995, Buday, 1993). “Hiding uncertainties in communication” (Jackson, 1997). “Poor communication between BPR teams and other personnel” (Grover et al., 1995); “Lack of motivation and reward” (Hammer and Champy, 1993; Grover et al., 1995; Davidson, 1993).

Organisational resistance: “Resistance to change” (Talwar, 1993; Moad, 1993; Jackson, 1997; Bashein et al., 1994; Stanton et al., 1993; Hoffman, 1997; Hendry, 1995a,b; Dawe, 1996); “Fear, lack of optimism, and scepticism about BPR results” (Bashein et al., 1994; Davenport, 1993); “Worries about job security” (Jackson, 1997); . Fear of job loss (Talwar, 1993). “Fear of loss of control and position” (Davenport, 1993; Hammer and Champy, 1993; Stanton et al., 1993); “Middle management impermeability” (Jackson, 1997);”Lack of adequate planning for resistance to change” (Hammer and Champy, 1993; Grover et al., 1995; Davidson, 1993; Arendt et al., 1995)

Lack of organisational readiness for change: “Need for change management is not realised” (Grover et al., 1995); “Lack of determination/courage/skills of management for radical changes” (Randall, 1993); “Demand for change exceeds the capacity to absorb (Jackson, 1997); “Lack of cross-functional co-operation” (Grover et al., 1995; Davenport and Short, 1990); “Line managers are not receptive for change” (Grover et al., 1995).

Problems related to creating a culture for change: “Underestimating the human side” (Is Re-engineering A Fad, 1996); “The Trouble with Reengineering”, 1995); “Not considering existing management systems and organizational culture” (Zairi and Sinclair, 1995; Davenport, 1993; Davidson, 1993; Grover et al., 1995); “Values ignorance” (Hammer and Champy, 1993; Grover et al., 1995; “Business Process Re-engineering” RIP, 1996; Hall et al., 1993); “A lack of trust between management and employees” (Has “Reengineering had its 15 Minutes of Fame?” 1995); “The tendency to copy others” (Business Process Re-engineering RIP, 1996); “Underestimating the role of politics in BPR “(Grover et al., 1995); “Animosity toward and by IS and human resources specialists” (Bashein et al., 1994).

Lack of training and education: “The absence of theory” (Business Process Re-engineering RIP, 1996); “Lack of understanding of BPR” (Grover et al., 1995; Davenport, 1993, Alter, 1990); “Lack of appropriate training for those affected by BPR” (Davenport, 1993; Grover et al., 1995; Hall et al., 1993).

2.5.2 BPR success/failure factors related to management support

Problems related to commitment, support, and leadership: “Lack of sustained management commitment and leadership” (Bashein et al., 1994; Hammer and Champy, 1993; Grover et al., 1995; Hall et al., 1993); “Lack of top management attention and support” (Randall, 1993; Davenport and Short, 1990; Grover et al., 1995; Alter, 1990); . “Lack of support from line managers” (Grover et al., 1995);. “A ``Do It to ME'' attitude” (Bashein et al., 1994).

Problems related to championship and sponsorship: “Lacking the visible sponsorship of senior management” (Is Reengineering A Fad? 1996; Hoffman, 1997); “Wrong sponsor” (Bashein et al., 1994); . “Lack of a champion” (Hammer and Champy, 1993; Gulden and Reck,1992; Grover et al., 1995; Hoffman, 1997);

These two success/failure factors which directly affect employees in organizations where BPR is being implemented would form the basis of this study in view of the research questions and objectives so as to assess cause of employee resistance to change during BPR implementation in the case study organization.

2.6. Resistance to change

Different authors have different definitions for resistance to change as Ansoff (1988, pp.207) defines resistance as ‘’A multifaceted phenomenon, which introduces unanticipated delays, costs and instabilities into the process of a strategic change’’. Since change often brings claims of resistance, an overview of the problem is provided below.

Webster’s Dictionary defines resistance as the act of:

withstanding, striving against, or opposing

withstanding the action or effect of

acting or making efforts in opposition

Most definitions of resistance include the idea that resistance is a force or energy directed against something. Resistance is a natural behavior of human beings. The key to understanding resistance is to realize that it is a reaction to an emotional process.

Resistance does not always happen. However, when it does, we often consider the resisters to be unreasonable and stubborn. As a result, we tend to support the change with data and logical arguments and pronounce the change more loudly and forcibly. We try to overcome resistance as if it were an enemy to be conquered. This approach does not work with the emotional energy of resistance. If we try to overcome resistance, we will only succeed in driving it underground, which may cause it to manifest itself at the most inopportune times and in the worst possible ways.

“Del Val and Fuentes (2003) “are of the opinion that on one hand, resistance to change is a phenomenon affecting the change process, by delaying or slowing down its beginning, obstructing or hindering its implementation, and increasing its costs. On the other hand, they see it as any conduct that tries to keep the status quo equivalent to inertia. But why does employees experiences negative feelings when they have to deal with change?” “An answer to this question can be given by looking at organizations as being collections of people” (Jex, 2002). According to Jex (2002), “people are basically creatures of habit, and as such, they take a great deal of comfort in routine and familiarity”. Consequently, even the idea of change often evokes apprehension and anxiety. People develop routines and rituals surrounding many behaviours and have difficulty changing them, no matter whether these changes are positive or negative. “This general principle certainly applies also in the workplace” (Jex, 2002). Even when people are unhappy with the current state of affairs confronting them in organizations they may still entertain the fear that any change will make things only worse. This fear of new conditions comes from a belief that changes will have a negative impact,“Consequently, it creates unwillingness to accept change and the people in the organization may react quite negatively to organizational change” (Greenberg and Baron, 2002; Jex’2, 2002).

2.6.1 Identifying resistance

It becomes imperatively difficult to identify causes of resistance to change among employees in an organization and this is because there is no quantitative way of identifying causes of resistance to change. However, there are some common behavioral characteristics that can aid in identifying causes of resistance to change among employees. Few of these behavioral characteristics include:

Request for more details: Most employees keep on asking for more and more information about the change in their institutions and never seem to get enough. No matter how much information is conveyed to them they still need more.

Impracticality: Employees end up saying that they live in “real world” and face “real world problems.” Although a change implemented sounds good in theory, to them it may be impractical.

Attack: Instead of employees embracing change in their environment they always want to know the one who initiated the change and therefore end up pointing fingers and becoming angry with the one who came out with the change.


Excerpt out of 98 pages


Assessing the Causes of Employee Resistance to Change in the Implementation of Business Processes Re-engineering in an Organization
Ghana Telecom University College  (GRADUATE SCHOOL)
Engineering Project management
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
1085 KB
assessing, causes, employee, resistance, change, implementation, business, processes, re-engineering, organization
Quote paper
Eric Dei (Author), 2014, Assessing the Causes of Employee Resistance to Change in the Implementation of Business Processes Re-engineering in an Organization, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: Assessing the Causes of Employee Resistance to Change in the Implementation of Business Processes Re-engineering in an Organization

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free