3. Resisting change

People resist change for many reasons. The simplest one being that people do not like change - it creates uncertainty and it takes energy.

Some additional reasons

Extra work

People are often very busy going about their daily business and there are only so many hours in a day. So a change that will add even more to their work load will not be welcome.


Change for change's sake

People need to be convinced that the change is worthwhile. For example when a new manager comes along one of the first things they tend to do is to change things. They want to impress their boss perhaps. But the staff are unlikely to be impressed if they see it as a change for change's sake.


Employment and money

This is a powerful reason why people resist change. The most extreme of course is if they are about to be made redundant. But moving away from this, the change may impact their career within the company, for instance a department shutting down where the line manager was keen on making a mark. They have to start again. The change may involve a lower salary or bonus and so will definitely be unwelcome.


Self-esteem or status

People naturally want to have the respect of their peers. In work, this is often gauged by their level of skill and extensive experience in their chosen field. For example an ace programmer suddenly finding the company switching to another language - they have to re-learn all over again and are no longer the expert that people turn to.


Impact on home life

The daily commute to work is a large part of many people's day. A company relocation that makes this even longer would not normally be a welcome change. The extra travel also costs money. Another common situtation is where the change means they will have to be away from home more often. For example, a company opening a new overseas office, so the manager will now have to travel much more.


Uncertainty about technology

Many changes involve new technology that is unfamiliar. For example, a team has been using the same database application for years - they are comfortable with it and know its quirks inside out. A new system to replace it is a big unknown and so people will be uncomfortable.


Social friendships

People like to have familiar friends and colleagues around them. If the change is going to break up that network of relationships then the person is not likely to be happy about that.



The challenge_blue in managing an unpopular change is to get people to co-operate with some enthusiasm. This is done through communication, consultation and participation.


challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Why do people resist change