An Exploration of Resistance to Change in Organisations: Multidimensional, Problematizing Research

MACMILLAN, Beverley Anne (2019). An Exploration of Resistance to Change in Organisations: Multidimensional, Problematizing Research. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Through this interpretive, social constructionist research I explore the multidimensionality of resistance to planned change within organisations and problematize (Alvesson & Karreman, 2007) the literature by challenging assumptions within it. The research objectives are to: develop a multidimensional conceptual framework of resistance to change; to introduce the concept of constructive discontent into the conceptual framework, considering both positive and negative aspects of resistance and the lack thereof; to provide a socially constructed interpretation of who resists change, why they resist and how that resistance manifests, and where appropriate to findings, to expose assumptions underlying the literature and offer challenge to these assumptions. Taking a social constructionist approach and pursuing a qualitative methodology, the research is based on 15 semi-structured interviews with participants from a UK Business School with experience of working in a range of organisations within the private, public and voluntary sectors. A picture of resistance emerges, rich in its multidimensionality. Eight dimensions of resistance are identified, each of which is multi-faceted: Value; Character; Impact; the Actors; Engagement; Language; Temporal and Spatial. The literature considers the dimensions of resistance in a fragmented manner, identifying few and focusing upon a limited number at any one time. A central contribution of this research is to unite this fractured literature through the creation of a single, multidimensional conceptualisation of the phenomenon. I make multiple revelatory and incremental contributions to knowledge and practice through building on the existing literature and contributing to neglected areas within the areas of who resists change, how change is resisted, and the language and impact of resistance. I contribute to practice through providing conceptual frameworks and diagrams, or lenses, through which practitioners might view resistance. I turn the traditional conceptualisation of resistance on its head, so that resistance is welcomed and compliance becomes a cause of concern.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Gardiner, Katherine
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Katherine Gardiner "No PQ harvesting"
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 12:46
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:54

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