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Barriers to change: a case study of selected units of Southern Rajasthan.


Driven by internal as well as external factors, Indian organizations are resorting to strategic changes through organizational restructuring, opening new vistas for experts, strengthening the market strategies, distribution network, revamping the product-mix and concentrating on core manufacturing operations. A large number of organizations have to go through the same phase. Change is a continuous process for growth and development of each and every organization. For successful change Implementation, understanding organizational dynamics is important. A diagnostic approach is required to monitor the process at the micro level with the common aim of improving the organization's effectiveness. It has to develop adaptability in the organizational variables so that the organization is able to survive and grow in the effects of changes. In order to do this, management has to introduce work related changes in the organization, which are generally resisted by the people because he fears the new and the unknown and partly because adapting to new ideas is an arduous and pain staking process. Change is inevitable, so is resistance to change. The perceived threat stemming from a change may be real or imagined, intended or unintended direct or indirect, large or small, regardless of the nature of change. Resistance to change implies human lags in understanding change, unwillingness and ability to absorb the volume and pace of change, to make the necessary psychological and other adjustments. Although people tend to resist changes, this tendency is offset by their desire for new experiences and for the rewards that come with change (Clark Liz, 1994). Certainly, not all changes are resisted; employees actively seek some, others are so terminal and resistive that resistance, if any, is too weak to be evident. People's readiness to change is due to quite distinct forces, which act on them. These are the forces within the individual himself or herself. The combination of these factors gives deceptions of something, which may be called for the degree of felt security. There is even evidence that the maturational levels and most importantly self-esteem play important parts in their readiness for change. These are forces within the system, which include the culture and climate of the organization and the present consequences of success and failure within the organization (Griffin 1999). Resistance to change can only be overcome through efforts of the people (Tayson et al., 1997).

In the longitudinal study of variables affecting readiness for change, Cunningham et al., (2002) cite a range of studies that have identified workplace contributions to readiness for organizational change, including feeling empowered in one's job, believing one possesses the skills, attitudes and opportunities to manage change, which in turn affect work-related self-efficacy, and social support. According to Clarke (1994), work on companies that were trying to transform their organizations in order to cope with dramatic market and environmental change, He found that organizational discoveries coincided with a period of personal change where an individual found himself struggling with the issues of challenging old assumption, letting go and moving on. He found that journey of personal change and organizational change are much the same and that learning's in one area can support the other. The Essence of change is about how to make change happen, building corporate experiences of successful and unsuccessful change and providing practical insight into the process of change. The sad fact is that, even the most powerful leaders are highly dependent on the capacity of the organization and the people they lead to produce the changes they require. It is only by making understand how people can work without organization, that we can create sustainable change. Study by Lewin (1951) shows that changes in attitude and behavior can more effectively be brought through participation rather than by lecture or individual instructions. Several Empirical studies show that significant changes in human behaviour can be brought rapidly only if the persons who have the thoughts of change participate in deciding what the change shall be and how it shall be introduced. In the absence of participation 'not' invented here syndrome works and people resist change. In order to overcome the resisting forces of change, Kotter and Schlessinger (1979) has given ways of overcoming resistance to change. More than one of these techniques may be used in any of the given situation such as allowing people to express their apprehensions, fears and doubts about proposed change. It will encourage change process. Education and communication i.e. when there is lack of information, whole group should be informed of the change programme even if change affects few employees. Take leaders (Union, supervising executives) into confidence, as they may be able to convince members. Participation with the involvement of employees in change programme as they will become committed to implementing change. Wherever feasible negotiate and reach to an agreement with the union, as union has considerable power of resistance. The present study has focused on the business organizations in Southern Rajasthan and the main objectives of the study are:

* To examine the factors opposing the introduction of change in the organizations.

* To study the level of variation of barriers to change with respect to different categories of business organizations.

Research Methodology

To obtain a comprehensive understanding of barriers to change in the selected Units of Southern Rajasthan a detailed questionnaire was prepared. The questionnaire was pilot tested in the units selected. Based on feedback, appropriate alternates where made to finalize the questionnaire on exhaustive database of representative units. For the purpose of our study, Southern Rajsthan is divided into three distinct divisions and two units of each type based on New Economy Units, Manufacturing Units, and Mining Units have been chosen from the same. The research design chosen for the study was of exploratory type. Stratified purposive sampling technique is used for the purpose of sampling. The samples of respondents for this study consist of 240 executives of Top and Middle level management executives and 150 Operational level employees. Both the sample consists of a wide cross section of respondents from each unit to make them a representative. The hypothesis framed were:

[H.sub.0]1: There is no significant difference among the categories of units selected with respect to the factors of resistance at "group level".

[H.sub.0]2: There is no significant difference among the categories of units selected with respect to the factors of resistance at "Organizational Level".

[H.sub.0]3: There is no significant difference among the categories of units selected with respect to the factors of resistance at "Aggregate level of Organizational Behaviour (OB)".

[H.sub.0]4: There exists no significant difference of job insecurity among workers due to automation and non autonomation (Structure, Task and People behaviour changes), of jobs.

[H.sub.0]5: There exists no significant difference between the Initial stage resistance and later stage resistance (Mid stage or final stage) among the employees in the organization regarding implementation of change process.

Results and Discussion

A glance at the Table 1 and Table 2 reveals that all the null hypothesis are accepted at critical value of F-distribution at 5% level of significance showing that there is no significant difference between categories of units selected and factors of resistance to change at group level, organizational level and aggregate of whole levels. It indicates that all factors of resistance to change are equally important to all categories of Units Selected. From Table 3 it can be analyzed that barriers to change process are the factors in the organization, which results in creating a type of fear in the minds of individual for change introduction. This type of fear is generated in the minds of individual highly due to set mindset, selective perception and fear of increasing stress and to some extent because of fear of achieving targets and habit. It can be interpretated that reasons of individual's resistance to change are highly due to their desire for security and lack of technical know-how. Sometimes inability of learning new skills and fear of achieving targets are also equally important. Generally, individuals have certain set hindrances within themselves because of which they oppose the change based on selective perception, mindset and habit, which prohibit them to take changes as factor for their survival. So it is necessary to take them into confidence through training and development and proper communication, prior to introduction of change. Sometimes groups also put barriers in the path of change implementation because of informal group pressure and high group cohesiveness and leadership, informal group norms and insecurity of achieving group targets. These factors of change can lead to lack of social make-up of the individual. Sometimes organization to which individual or group belongs, also opposes the changes due to limited managerial focus of change or fear of loosing effectiveness and personality conflicts. To some extent threat to establishment of resource allocation, demand of stability and uncertainly of future also plays an equally important role. Creating broad vision, creative and reflexive thinking and risk taking behavior can remove all these barriers at the managerial level. Generally people have the perception that change creates job insecurity among the workers, but they are not exactly clear about the fact which type of change results in more job insecurity. It can be revealed from the Table 4 that maximum amount of job insecurity is created by automation of jobs (i.e. technological changes). Role and reporting relationships and changes in the process and skills required for the jobs creates less amount of insecurity comparatively. This is same for all units of Southern Rajasthan expect for the manufacturing and mining units where maximum job insecurity results from change in task. From the result of the Table 5, the Null hypothesis is found to be invalid at critical value of t at 5% level of significance showing that there exists significant difference between automation and non autorotation (Structure, Task and People behaviour changes) creating more job insecurity among workers. It can also be interpreted from the table that there exists a significant difference in the level of resistance at initial stage and later stage (mid stage or final stage) of change implementation in the organizations, rejecting null hypothesis at 5% level of significance.


The change process in the units of Southern Rajasthan doesn't exist in a vacuum. It must be responsive to the major corporate changes as well. Even the main changes in each type of units are also highly affected by the type of changes at the corporate level. The investigation has concluded that the barriers to change are a natural process and Units of Southern Rajasthan is no more exception to it. Even though changes are introduced in these organizations, but not at high levels. Regarding reasons for resistance to change, it is concluded that individual resist changes because of desire for security, limited technical knowledge and inability of learning new skills, at the higher extent and fear of achieving targets, selective perceptions, stress, mindset and habits at lower extent. Group of people resist changes because of loss of group cohesiveness, leadership and informal group norms in the units of Southern Rajasthan. Organizational reasons of resistance to change include limited focus of change and fear of loosing effectiveness. The barriers in the introduction of change process in the organization (factor-wise and aggregate) are same independent of the categories of the units selected.

Limitations and Scope for Future Work

This study is limited to only few categories of selected units of Southern Rajasthan and not all sectors of units are bought under the gamut of the study. An emphasis is laid down on the factors leading to resistance to change however the relative influence of various factors of resistance to change on each type of units selected have not been studied. The future work may focus on the following areas:

* Since the organizational change is gaining importance now a day therefore studies on different dimensions of change and there impact on organizational effectiveness in the whole state may be undertaken.

* The geographical boundaries of the study may be extended to India.

* Separate study on different aspects of change and its impact on different sectors of the organizations or corporate may be undertaken.

* Similarly, another study can be undertaken to study the present impact of change process in the organization and how it affects the Indian firms to cope with future changing scenario.


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Sunita Tanwar *

* Ansal Institute of Technology, Sector-55, Gurgaon--122003, Haryana, India

* E-mail:,
Table1: Significance of Resistance to Change

Null Hypothesis Description F. Value Remarks

[H.sub.0]1 Factors of resistance at 0.059 Accepted
 Group level
[H.sub.0]2 Factors of resistance at 1.656 Accepted
 Organisational level

[H.sub.0]3 Factors of resistance at 1.125 Accepted
 Aggregate level of OB

Table 2: ANOVA Table for Variation in Factors of Resistance to Change
Different Levels


Sources of Variation Sum of Squares Degree of Freedom
Between Sample 0.000 2
Within Sample 0.021 6


Sources of Variation Sum of Squares Degree of Freedom
Between Sample 0.049 2
Within Sample 0.222 15


Sources of Variation Sum of Squares Degree of Freedom
Between Sample 0.141 2
Within Sample 3.004 48


Sources of Variation Mean Square F-Ratio
Between Sample 0.000 0.059
Within Sample 0.004


Sources of Variation Mean Square F-Ratio
Between Sample 0.025 1.656
Within Sample 0.015


Sources of Variation Mean Square F-Ratio
Between Sample 0.070 1.125
Within Sample 0.063

Table 3: Ranking of Barriers to Change at Different Levels of
Organization with Respect to Categories of Unit Selected

S. No. Categories of Mean Score
 Reasons of Resistance New Manufacturing
 Economy Units

I Individual level

1 Mindset/Resistance to change 7.0 6.8
2 Selective Perception 6.8 6.8
3 Stress 6.9 6.7
4 Limited and Technical Knowledge 6.7 6.8
5 Fear of achieving Targets 6.7 6.7
6 Habit 6.7 6.8
7 Desire for Security 6.7 6.7
8 Inability of learning new skills 8.5 7.0

II Group Level

1 Informal Group pressure 6.9 6.9
2 High cohesiveness and leadership 6.9 6.8
3 Insecurity of achieving group targets 6.8 6.8

III Organizational Level

1 Limited Focus of change 7.3 6.9
2 Uncertainly of future 6.8 7.0
3 Threat to Establishment of resource
 allocation 6.9 6.9
4 Personality conflicts 6.9 6.8
5 Fear of loosing Effectiveness 6.7 6.9
6 Demand of Stability 6.9 6.9

S. No. Mean Score Average Rank
 Mining Score


1 6.8 6.86 I
2 6.9 6.81 II
3 6.8 6.80 III
4 6.8 6.77 IV
5 6.8 6.75 V
6 6.7 6.74 VI
7 6.8 6.73 VII
8 6.8 7.43 VIII


1 6.8 6.88 I
2 6.8 6.85 II
3 6.9 6.83 III


1 6.8 6.98 I
2 6.9 6.90 II
3 6.9 6.88 III
4 6.8 6.85 IV
5 6.9 6.81 V
6 6.7 6.81 V

Table 4: Dimensions of Change vs. Job Insecurity

Categories of Mean Score Average Rank
Units Mean
Type of Changes New Manufacturing Mining Score
 Economy Units Units

Automation of jobs 36 33 25 31.33 I

Changes in the
process of skill 20 26 28 24.67 II

Role and reporting
relationship 16 16 21 17.67 III

Changes in the
attitude 22 11 15 16.00 IV

Table 5: t-Test for the Level of Significance

Null hypothesis Calculated t-value Degree of freedom Results

[H.sub.0]4 3.45 4 Significant

[H.sub.0]5 3.47 4 Significant
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Author:Tanwar, Sunita
Publication:Asia-Pacific Business Review
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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