Research on Risitance

Journal of park and recreation administration volume 21, Number 2
Summer 2003 pp. 22-43

Discovering conditions for staff acceptance of organizational change

Ron Welch
Ronald E. McCarville

The process described in this article in noteworthy because employees, like all people, inevitably resist change. Change raises unwanted questions about their current performance levels, their abilities and their ultimate job security. For this reason, efforts to create organizational change are usually unsuccessful.

Structured interviews with staff members discovered that four factors were particularly key in creating acceptance to change; purpose, process, plan and people.
Purpose: those who accepted the purpose of the change as both legitimate and desirable were more         likely to be accepting of the change effort.
Process: When managers and supervisors involved staff members in the planning and implementation of the initiative. This involvement seemed key to gaining acceptance of the initiative.
Plan: Staff was being asked to change the nature of their daily job assignments and responsibilities. While this proved daunting for some, others saw new opportunities in the change.
People: The final factor helped workers navigate through these very personal misgivings. Several employees relied heavily upon fellow staff members for emotional and professional support as the initiative was implemented.

Change initiatives like downsizing may create problems with employee attitudes and behaviors. A study completed by Luthans and Sommer (1990) revealed “that the downsizing experience did affect traditional organizational level attitudes such as satisfaction and commitment”.

Corporate culture might gain a company a competitive advantage, but it may also create obstacles for innovation and change. It creates uniformity of purpose and enhances cooperative behavior, but it can also discourage willingness to adapt new strategies and process. As a result it may also...