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Handbook of Public Administration, 3rd Edition by James L. Perry, Robert K. Christensen

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Chapter 21Understanding and Overcoming Resistance to Organizational Change

Sergio Fernandez

Organizations undergo frequent changes in function and form, ranging from changes in structure, technology, and products to changes in personnel, leadership, and culture (Burke, 2010; Demers, 2007; Weick & Quinn, 1999). Many changes are microlevel ones that affect one individual or a small group, but some are fundamental or revolutionary departures from the status quo, like reorganizations and changes in strategic direction. In a dynamic external environment, adaptable organizations that can change and innovate are more likely to survive and thrive (Burns & Stalker, 1961; March & Simon, 1993). Despite popular perceptions that they are resistant to change, ...

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