Ambivalence and Organizational Change

Organizations face challenge of implementing change optimally because of poor communication between the employees and the management. Ambivalence and resistance to change is more amplified by the workers whose lives are directly affected by the changes. Organizations relies on change agents to communicate the intended changes needed to be implemented in the organization(Florian, Klonek, & Kauffeld, 2014). It is the responsibility of the change agents to promote and sponsor change initiative in the organization. The change recipients who are the organizational members are tasked with the responsibility of conducting change measures. In the initial stages of organizational change, change agents are normally faced with resistance to change by the recipients. The intended organizational change fails to pick up when the change agents fails to motivate change recipients to work cooperatively and pitch in for the proposed changes.

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            The objectives of initiating organizational change is to make business to continuously remain competitive advantage in the market. These changes are attributed to continuous change in business environment brought about by competition and globalization aspect. However, effective organizational change is yet to be realized by the organizations due to ambivalence and resistance from the employees(Jos, Marjolein, & Caniels, 2012). Recent analysis indicated that only 1/3 of the organizational change implemented were considered successful by their leaders. Most organizational leaders have acknowledge that implementing successful organizational change has been problematic. As a result, most organizations have opted to adopt structure change programs founded on the assumption that change management involves the interventions that are perceived as measurable, objective as well as linearly manageable and could be realized within a relatively short time. Scholar have argued that the studies should focus on the dynamics of change process rather than the traditional studies that focused on the top-down organizational change. This approach enables the leaders to comprehensively understand ambivalences and change resistance, which is attributed to high failure rate to change.

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            Analysis from the traditional change agent-centric perspective indicated that employees that are perceived to be resisting the change were considered as bad apples that spoil the whole barrel, which means that they intend to curtail the entire change initiative. This implies that traditional agent-centric perspective which is person-centered demonize uncooperative employees. By demonizing the resisting employees, change agentstend to indirectly promote resistance they face(Jos, et al., 2012). Therefore, it is important for the change agents to understand that conversational dynamics between change recipients and change agents plays crucial role in the establishment of cohesive relationship. Despite widely shared census among the scholars and researchers that communication is the key driving force in the achievement of effective organizational change, many studies are yet to comprehensively outline the inherent communicative dynamics that contributes to challenges in the change management process.

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            In order to determine a situation whereby agents of change triggers resistance among the change recipients, it is necessary to pay attention on the dynamic interaction process that exists between recipients and agents. In addition, dyadic change agent-recipient conversations provide the insights of conversational dynamics under which resistance to change or readiness for change is triggered, although it is perceived not represent the entire range of social situation in agent-recipient relationship(Florian, et al., 2014). Another aspects that leadership in the organization needs to focus on in order to understand ambivalence and resistance to change is the dynamic of social interaction. Through dynamic social interaction approach as a method of managing change process in the organization, the agents of change would be able have insightful of how ambivalence and resistance to change could be addressed in order to assist recipients to readily accept change. This would be achieved by actively engaging them in the change process as well as promoting their acceptance to change. By allowing change recipients to verbalize their opinions about future organizational change, they are given the opportunity to express their thoughts and ambivalent feelings about the entire change process.

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            The emerging trend indicated that psychology scholars and management conceptualize the context of resistance to change from the concept of ambivalence. The concept of ambivalence highlights the issues of conflicting attitudes towards the intended changes exhibited by the employees. Through natural observation and listening to what recipients talks about future changes, allows the management to build on the perception of resistance to change through ambivalent expressions(Florian, et al., 2014). Utterances from change recipients does not only reveal resistance to change but also give the expression of readiness for change. Addition approach that management could explore in order to comprehensively understand the issues of ambivalence and resistance to change is the comprehensive analysis of change-related language. Scholar and psychologist of change have argued that this approach is similar to force-field analysis, which is known for identifying interpersonal hindrances and driving force in change management.            

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By using these methods and approaches managers and change agents would be able to address issues that are related to ambivalence and resistance to change(Piderit, 2000). Also, it’s important to engage employees actively in the change process in order for them to understand the importance of the intended change and how it will affects their lives especially in the work environment.

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