Change is inevitable in both our personal and professional lives. In organizations, it is essential for growth and improvement. However, it is common for individuals to resist change, which can hinder progress. The image we analyze today presents a comprehensive overview of the reasons for change resistance and potential responses to overcome it:

Garry provides: troubleshooting support,  advice, and training on strategy, policy & governance issues for Australian non-profit organisations; and mentoring/coaching support for NFP leaders
Image source: Garry Pearson OAM

Reasons for Change Resistance

The image highlights six main reasons for change resistance:

  1. Fear of the unknown: Individuals tend to feel apprehensive about the uncertainty of change. As a result, they may resist new initiatives or processes.
  2. Comfort in routine: People often find comfort in routine and predictability. Change disrupts this sense of stability, which can lead to resistance.
  3. Lack of trust in management: If employees do not trust their leaders or believe they have their best interests at heart, they may resist change.
  4. Misunderstandings about the nature or implications of the change: When people need to understand the reasons for modification or its implications fully, they may resist it out of confusion or fear.
  5. Fear of failure: Change often requires individuals to learn new skills or adapt to new situations, leading to a fear of failure.
  6. Perceived negative impact on job security or workload: Employees may resist change if they believe it will lead to job loss or increased workload.

Effective Responses to Change Resistance

To facilitate change and overcome resistance, the image suggests five vital responses:

  1. Communicate clearly: Clear communication about the reasons for change, its benefits, and its potential impact on employees is crucial. It helps address misunderstandings and alleviate fears about the unknown.
  2. Involve employees in the change process: When involved in planning and implementing change, employees are more likely to feel invested in its success.
  3. Provide support and resources: Offering training, resources, and support can help employees adapt to change and feel more confident in their ability to succeed.
  4. Demonstrate empathy and understanding: Acknowledging the challenges associated with change and showing compassion for employees’ concerns can help build trust and reduce resistance.
  5. Celebrate and reward success: Recognizing and rewarding employees for their efforts and achievements during the change process can boost morale and encourage continued engagement.


Understanding the reasons for change resistance is critical to formulating effective responses. By addressing fears and uncertainties, involving employees in the change process, providing support, demonstrating empathy, and celebrating success, organizations can overcome resistance and facilitate change.


Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press.

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