Resistance to organizational change: what it is and how to deal with it

Resistance to organizational change occurs when monotony ends work motivation. Here’s how to get out of your comfort zone at work!

Last update: December 05, 2021

All people are biopsychosocial beings. This means that there are several factors involved in our personal growth. Changes are inevitable in life, but they are not always welcome. Resistance to organizational change happens when workers in companies do not want new challenges.

In this article we review how the comfort zone at work is a limiting situation. In addition, we see how to overcome compliance with the work routine. Motivation is an important issue in these cases and may be the key.

What is resistance to organizational change?

Over time, the level of motivation for work decreases and we feel bored. The routine begins to gain ground, undermining the performance of employees and limiting development. Therefore, resistance to organizational change is a sensation of security caused by monotony.

Feeling safe in the workplace contributes to mental health, but sticking to it safe is counterproductive. For example, rejecting new challenges due to the work comfort we experience is something that limits us.

After having gone through a period of adjustment, people feel confident in what they are doing. When we feel that we have mastered our tasks, it is normal not to want to lose control. The thought that learning something new implies a lowering of hierarchy is responsible for us rejecting changes.

How does it manifest?

When people fail to establish a clear idea of ​​their job progress, they stagnate. The thing about resistance to organizational change is that there is physical and psychological manifestations. Catastrophic thoughts about change create anxiety in workers.

Maladaptive mindsets promote limiting behaviors. For example, when a worker is reluctant to change his routine, he experiences a feeling of irrational fear. The concern about having to adapt to changes is not logical; job challenges represent progress and are not a negative situation.

Among the physical manifestations of resistance to change are frequent excessive sweating, tension in muscle groups (back and neck) and tension headache. When these signs are manifested in an intense and recurrent way, they cause constant fatigue in people.

The work stress that appears as a result of resistance to organizational change is expressed in physical symptoms.

Why does resistance to organizational change occur?

There are several reasons why people are uncomfortable with job changes. Loss of motivation is the first thing to happen; then conformity and fear of the unknown as a third factor.

As people spend time at their jobs, motivation has ups and downs. It is natural that at the beginning workers are willing to learn and experience new situations. With repetition, the initial impulse gives way to monotony.

When work environments are limiting or hostile, workers are more likely to show resistance to change. People need to feel valued in their work environment. In cases where the worker does not feel supported, their performance stagnates.

Coping techniques for this problem

Now we will review a list of effective tips to deal with resistance to organizational change. These resources can be used in any work environment. Coping styles are decisive to improve our conditions.

1. Active participation

Actively participating in the work environment is positive for staying motivated. This is looking for new challenges on our own. Proposing projects to bosses is a good idea to show interest and get out of the comfort zone.

2. Assertive communication

Communication is important to maintaining good working relationships. Being assertive is manage the way we say things. For example, maintain an appropriate tone of voice, avoid hurtful comments, and actively listen to others.

3. Productive relationships

Being selective about the people around us is a protective factor against conformity. Motivation and productivity they improve when we are able to change our working relationships. For instance, approaching others who have goals and projects encourages us to build better work planning.

4. Achievable expectations

In order for motivation to be sustained over time, it is necessary to specify expectations. The ideal is to have short and medium-term projects, so that we can materialize them and be proud of it. It is important that the expectations we have regarding our work are achievable to avoid frustration.

Developing projects keeps us active and with future goals that stimulate us.

What to do if I have a toxic job?

In case of working in a dysfunctional environment, we must focus on those aspects that we can control. That is to say, try to perform well on our own and for our personal development. If working conditions are too hostile, consider changing jobs.

Leaving a toxic environment represents an achievement that we must value. It is natural that there is uncertainty at first. But eventually we will have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves in a new place.

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