Resistance to Change

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Change is hard to be estimated as something good or bad – of course, at times it is possible to identify the potential range of consequences the change will bring. However, in some situations, the change is still perceived as something negative and threatening even in case there are no definite characteristics thereof. People may refuse the change for different reasons, so to understand the key factors making them do that it is relevant to consider the justification of refusal and try to work out a set of means to overcome this reasoning.

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The first case that may be considered is the situation when people resist change because they are content with the situation they are currently living in, their needs being met and their ambitions being satisfied. In this case, the risk for them is too high to try to change something, so the preferable decision is not to risk something that one has for the sake of something indefinite and vague. This situation may be illustrated by an example of a hard worker of a middle level in some huge organization where he gets all possible benefits from his position but does not strive to achieve a higher position. In case he or she is offered a higher position, then the refusal is justified by the risk to lose a low but steady position in one firm and then to fail to achieve something at another, though potentially better place – the same implication was illustrated by Kotelnikov as “fear to lose something they value” (Kotelnikov, 2009). The solution to the problem offered by specialists is to create a threat to the existing needs of the object of change – this way it will be possible to initiate hesitations about the existing position and thus to make the person take the risk (Rationale for Resistance, 2009).

Another situation in which the person may decide to refuse the change and take it in a hostile way is when he or she has invested heavily, no matter whether it concerns monetary or other equivalents, in the place where they are and they do not want to start the hard way up the promotion ladder again. This situation may again be illustrated by an example of a worker who has gone through the career path for a long time and has achieved the position with the help of hard and long-term labor. In this case, the person may be satisfied with the position, even if he or she wants something else, because of the fear of effort that he or she will need to take again to get established at a new place. This case is given the top priority in the reasons for which people refuse the change in the list of A. J. Schuler (2009) – “The risk of change is seen as greater than the risk of standing still”.

There is a set of decisions connected with such a situation. The first alternative for the person initiating the change is to show the resisting person that the effort and investment will not be necessary at the new place, including the comparison with the present situation and showing the whole range of potential advantages the change will bring about. Besides, one more variant may be the negative influence on the contemporary status of that person – by reducing the importance of one’s current position the one initiating change may deprive the individual of high appreciation of that position and thus change his or her attitude to change in a positive way (Rationale for Resistance, 2009).

The third situation of refusal may be justified by the fact that people have some work in the middle of the process, thus they do not want to change anything because of a lack of wish to drop something unfinished. A good illustration for this example may be found in large corporations involving their best professionals in long-term projects for them to remain motivated on a long-term basis and not to wish to change their place of work. Under such conditions it is essential to create favorable conditions for those individuals to finish their projects quicker and to motivate them for this, constantly reminding them of the potential position and stimulating their interest and thus activity (Rationale for Resistance, 2009).

As one can see from the following examples, change is not always a positive alternative for individuals to take, but in general, there is always a set of ways to overcome hesitation and hostility – the main way to do this lies in understanding the nature of inner doubts of a particular person and further finding an individual approach to solving the issues troubling that individual. Besides, the process of overcoming involves another factor – “to gain an appreciation that the adoption of innovation is a complex process involving a variety of people and factors” (Resistance to Change, 2009). Accepting these core assumptions every innovator will manage to reach the established goal and implement the change successfully.

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  1. Kotelnikov, V. (2009). Resistance to Change. Web.
  2. Rationale for Resistance (2009). Web.
  3. Resistance to Change (2009).
  4. Schuler, A.J. (2009). Overcoming Resistance to Change: Top Ten Reasons for Change Resistance.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, March 15). Resistance to Change. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, March 15). Resistance to Change.

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"Resistance to Change." PsychologyWriting, 15 Mar. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Resistance to Change'. 15 March.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Resistance to Change." March 15, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Resistance to Change." March 15, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Resistance to Change." March 15, 2022.