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Resistance to change in an organization: a qualitative empirical study

Resistance to change in an organization: a qualitative empirical study

Journal of Economic Regulation, , Vol. 9 (no. 2),

This paper examines the process of organizational change using the insights of original institutionalism and new institutional economics. The research aims to contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms of employees’ adaptation to radical changes in an organization. The process of institutionalization that includes the establishment and maintenance of organizational routines is treated as an essential step in organizational development. At the same time, it is assumed that highly institutionalized organizations may face structural inertia and resistance to change. Qualitative methods of research were used to analyze the reasons for resistance to change in an organization. The article analyzes the findings from 30 semi-structured interviews with the employees of a large Russian telecommunication company. The results of this study demonstrate that employees perceive changes as chaotic and badly prepared if they are not well-informed about the objectives that change managers are pursuing. If communications within an organization are poor, and new rules, business processes and procedures are inconsistent with the previous ones, passive behavior in the workplace is likely to be observed. The prevalence of passive behavior among employees in an organization hinders transformation processes and adoption of changes.


Keywords: organizational change; resistance to change; institutional economics; qualitative methods; interview

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