Managing resistance to change



This blog is to explore that change is necessary for most organisations in the globalised economy. People easily feel resistant to change, as change always come with uncertainty and other negative aspects. Then this blog will explain the role that managers play in avoiding resistance and illustrate it in fashion industry.

In the globalised and interconnected economy, organisations deal with continually shifting: market conditions, customer demands, technologies input costs, competitions. Change is not new to companies, some people constantly fight with changes while some others prefer the comfort of the status quo, how to deal with change is decided by personality. However, organisations must adapt or die. They should continually re-evaluate their business model and ask questions about the appropriateness of the strategy and tactics they are employing to reach their long term goals. ‘Change management’ is thoughtfully and carefully re-aligning the organisation based on the answers. But the problem with change is that people who have been doing things a certain way for a long time do not like to suddenly be told they have to do things differently, as change is usually accompanied by uncertainty, poor communication, power-plays, chaos(business balls, 2013).



Mullins(2010) has suggested that there is little management can do about resistance to change. Actually there are a lot of things a manager can do, if the manager can find the right way to do it.  . A manager must do several things to manage the resistance to change: communicate the threat of not changing, involve the whole team in decision making, minimise uncertainty, celebrate successes in moving towards the goal, keep explaining the reasons to change. When there is an information vacuum, people often tend to assume their managers are plotting terrible things, so be as transparent as possible, so that people can ask less questions about the change(GRAZIADIO BUSINESS REVIEW,2005).


Actually, resistance to change can be a matter of not getting consensus at the beginning of change happening inside the organisation.  Managers are the key to the success of change, as they can help people to overcome and avoid the resistance. Managers are responsible for motivating people to support the change and involving people in every part of the change. People tend to think about the minus sides of change, therefore managers should not only explain the reasons for the change, but also think of what people are thinking and try to persuade people to overcome the negative thoughts.  Setting a clear strategy, vision and valuing highly the viewpoints from other people are also important parts of managing the change(Lee,2013).

In fashion industry, doing change is not only about making new flow charts, but also the employees’ daily lives are affected, this can be the first thing that every employee do every morning. Implementing a new technology usually brings in big changes to job responsibilities and roles, especially for those pattern makers and designers.  For example, in a product line management,  the pattern makers could have more information before a design has gone so far in development, so that they can make more preparation. Only when managers are carefully and thoughtfully listening to team members  can the problems with role changes be rightly handles. Therefore every member in the fashion company could has less resistance to change once they feel they are being understood. As mentioned before, communicating the vision before the implementation of the change is also important in fashion industry. What the future will be look like, how the company should try to get there and what it will be if we do not change are the key points that should be clearly communicated at the start of the change process. There is one example in fashion industry, which was a solution used in a fashion manufacturer company, the manufacturer hang posters around the office which sketched out the purpose of the PLM and included colorful flow charts.  This was an simple way for employees and managers to get familiar with the process in the chart, also with terminology in it hence every member could be able to communicate in the same language and vocabulary(Lectra,2013).


To conclude, some people tend enjoy the comfort of status quo while some others would like take the opportunity of change, however change is a must for most companies, therefore it is manages’ responsibilities to deal with people’s resistance to change. A successful transformation in change not only brings in results, it also makes more collaborative teams through good communication.






Lectra. 2013. Managing change in the fashion industry. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 March 14].


GRAZIADIO BUSINESS REVIEW. 2005. Managing resistance to change. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 March 14].


Lee,S. 2013. Managing Resistance to Change. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 March 14].

business balls. 2013. change management principles. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 March 14].


Wedell,G. (2011). [Online Video]. 18 September. Available from: [Accessed: 04 March 2014].



4 thoughts on “Managing resistance to change

  1. It’s really impressive to add the big picture at the beginning of your blog and the outline of your blog is clear enough to read. However it’s a bit lack of some datas to support your opinions, what’s more, it’s possible for you to use the theories to combine with your experience or the practice. The example will be more persuasive. This is just a kind suggestion for your blog and hope it could be helpful for you.

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