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Resistance: Overt & Covert
Employees may accept the change you are proposing. However, if they are not fully convinced of the need for the change (or see that they are likely to be worse off as a result) they may resist the changes. This can happen in several ways - either individually or as an organised group (e.g. trade union opposition.)

The resistance may also range from overt – defiantly refusing to change the way they work – to more covert ways. This might involve working around the new system or not using it properly so that it doesn’t generate the benefits you were expecting in the hope that you will abandon the change and revert to the original position.

Covert resistance is often more difficult to address as it is not as easy to identify. An employee may outwardly appear to be co-operating, but is in effect not fully embracing the new system or structure and is undermining its potential for success.

To some extent any degree of resistance is dependent on what previous experience employees have of change: how they were treated and whether it led to the benefits they had been promised. If it was a failure last time, they may expect this again and not fully commit to the changes.

Although you might be proposing a logical change, employees will react on an emotional level. This can range from the denial (‘it won’t happen’ syndrome) through a defensive response resulting in fear and anger, to the acceptance response where individuals acknowledge that there are new opportunities to be grasped. Remember that different employees will react in different ways and that denial and defensive responses often lead to resistance!
Posted on 19 Nov 2016

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