I disagree with Mullins (2010:753), who argues that the resistance to change is determined by the personality of individuals and management can do little about it. In my point of view, the managers can develop and implant change management as to address new challenges and constant change, no matter what personalities that the employees possess.
Primarily, the author should not blame the personality of the individual for assuming all the responsibilities for the resistance to change (Mullins 2010: 753). The resistance to change can be classified into three levels. Firstly, the employee resistance is the top obstacle to change among all levels. Employees are afraid of the unknown and thus opposed to moving out of comfort. The second level is the middle-management resistance within the organization. As persons who interact directly with front-line employees, middle managers could pose a significant resistance to change. The third level of resistance to change is the corporate inertia and politics that may push back against the change initiative (Prosci Inc., 2014).
From the analysis above, the former two levels of resistances to change are due to personality, which are subjective conditions, while the latter one is an objective condition. It shows that the resistances to change not only comes the personality, but also from the corporate inertia. In this circumstance, the author is wrong by stating that the resistance to change is “all down to the personality of the individual” (Mullins 2010: 753).
Secondly and more importantly, the managers can address the resistance to change by implanting effect change management. The employees are not responsible for managing change. Instead, the responsibility for change management is with managers of an organization, who are expected to manage the change in a way that employees can cope with it. According to the benchmarking study in 2009, the managers are critical to the success of change management. The research data is shown below.
The Importance of Manager and Supervisor Involvement to the Success of Change Efforts
(Source: Prosci Inc., 2013)
From the figure above, it can be seen that in the participants’ perception, the management plays the critical role in managing changes. Half of the respondents have ranked the manager and supervisor involvement as the extremely important, with another one-third citing it as very important. Especially, the managers play five roles in avoiding and overcoming the resistance to change as below.
The first role that the managers play is the communicator in change management, by communicating with direct reports about the change. As employees wish to from how their work would be influenced by the changes, the managers should act as the key conduit of information about the organization, the work to be done and changes to that work after project completion.
The second role that the managers should play is the advocate by demonstrating their support for the change. In most cases, employees seek to evaluate the level of support for the change effort. Therefore, the management should reveal their support in an active way to the employees.
Also, the managers should play the role of coach by educating and training the employees through the change process. The managers are supposed to coach individuals through the change process and help them overcome the barriers to the ultimate success.
The fourth role that managers play is the liaison. This role requires the managers to interact with the project team by providing information not only from the project team to their direct reports, and vice versa.
Furthermore, the managers should also play a role of resistance manager by identifying and managing the resistances at all level (Prosci Inc., 2013).
Furthermore, it should be pointed out that the resistance can bring value to the change process. While managers are making efforts to implant strategies in the best interests of the organization, the productive resistant behaviors of employees can add value to the change processes by providing innovation, new insights, and the generation of new knowledge. These employees with contextual knowledge are likely to add change agendas to help them fit with local contexts (Cardiff Business School, 2013). In this way, the productive resistance can bring value to the change process.
An organizational example for change management is Hilton Hotels Corp (Hilton) that manages the human resource change process. During this process, the company sets performance incentives as the major criterion for its stuff salaries. During the change process, the managers play well the roles of communicator, advocate, coach, liaison, and resistance manager. Additionally, the managers listen to constructive feedbacks, resulting in value added in the change process.
In conclusion, the mangers in the hospitality industry should implant proper change management as to respond to the changes in business environment. Throughout the change process, while the managers should play critical role in managing changes, they should also pay attention to the productive resistance of employees that could add value to the change process.
Chapman, A (2013) Change Management [online]. Available from: <http://www.businessballs.com/changemanagement.htm > [9 March 2014].
Chen, YC. (2011) ‘A Case Study on the Business Performance Management of Hilton Hotels Corp’, International Business Research, vol. 4, No. 2, April, pp. 213-218.
Prosci Inc. (2013) ‘Managers and supervisors: importance and role’ [online]. Available from: <http://www.change-management.com/tutorial-job-roles-mod4.htm > [9 March 2014].
Prosci Inc. (2014) ‘Change Management Learning Center’ [online]. Available from: <http://www.change-management.com/tutorial-success-factors.htm > [9 March 2014].