Category Archives: Public Note

Barriers to Change

Visionary leadership is crucial for change; however, managers should expect to encounter resistance as they guide the organization along the curve of change. It is natural for people to resist change, and many barriers to change exist at the individual and organizational levels.

1. Excessive focus on costs. Management may possess the mindset that costs are all-important and may fail to appreciate the importance of a change that is not focused on costs—for example, a change to increase employee motivation or customer satisfaction.

2. Failure to perceive benefits. Any significant change will produce both positive and negative reactions. Education may be needed to help managers and employees perceive more positive than negative aspects of the change. In addition, if the organization’s reward system discourages risk-taking, a change process might falter because employees think that the risk of making the change is too high.

3. Lack of coordination and cooperation. Organizational fragmentation and conflict often result from the lack of coordination for change implementation. Moreover, in the case of new technology, the old and new systems must be compatible.

4. Uncertainty avoidance. At the individual level, many employees fear the uncertainty associated with change. Constant communication is needed so that employees know what is going on and understand how it affects their jobs.

5. Fear of loss. Managers and employees may fear the loss of power and status—or even their jobs. In these cases, implementation should be careful and incremental, and all employees should be involved as closely as possible in the change process.

Implementation can typically be designed to overcome many of the organizational and individual barriers to change.


Daft, Richard L. Organization Theory and Design. Cengage Learning, 03/2012. VitalBook file.

When you’re with someone who frets about the future, a real hand wringer and nail-biter, simply tell this childlike story

Clocks usually are calm, regular creatures, but one litter ticker worked himself into a frenzy thinking about his responsibilities for the coming year.

“I have to tick two times per second,” he said. “That’s 120 ticks per minute, 7,200 per hour, 172,800 per day.”

Continuing his calculations, the clock worried that he’d never be able to complete the necessary 1,209,600 ticks every week. And he despaired of ticking regularly nearly 63 million times in the coming year.

The more he thought about it, the more worried he became. Finally, his anxiety made his ticker go on the blink, and he consulted a psychiatrist.

“I’m afraid I just don’t have what it takes to manage all those ticks,” the clock lamented.

The doctor smiled and asked him, “How many ticks must you tick at a time?”

The clock responded, “Well, just one,”

“Then, focus your energy on just one tick at a time,” suggested the doctor, “and I think you will be just fine.”

So the little clock wound himself up, concerned himself with only one tick at a time and went on ticking happily ever after.