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Project Management Leadership: Building Creative Teams, 2nd Edition by Rory Burke, Steve Barron

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Chapter 8

Resistance to Change

Learning Outcomes
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
  • Identify why people resist change.
  • Identify what a leader can do to engage people with change.
  • Examine ideas about how change happens.

Projects, by definition, are designed to introduce some kind of change; perhaps a new product or service, a new operating environment or new facilities. There is much emphasis these days on ‘soft projects’ or projects that introduce change within an organization, group or society. These types of projects can be difficult for people who have problems adapting to changes; they can exhibit behaviors that indicate a resistance to change.

Resistance to Change can be defined as: The action taken by individuals and teams when they perceive that a change that is occurring is a threat to them.

1. What is Resistance to Change?

It is important to note that resistance to change is the result of a perceived threat. People’s perception of a threat can be enough to shape their behaviors, though there might not be a real threat at all. People usually interpret events and situations from their own point of view and this perspective might not align with the intentions and understanding of others.

Resistance can take many forms, including active or passive, overt or covert, individual or organized, aggressive or timid.

2. Why is There Resistance to Change?

Even though many changes are intended to bring benefits, moving from a known, familiar position to an ...

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