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Understanding Resistance to Change - Building on Coch and French

Burnes B (2015) Understanding Resistance to Change - Building on Coch and French. Journal of Change Management, 15 (2), pp. 92-116.

The aim of this article is to explore the nature of resistance to change (RTC) and the notion that employees are the prime source of such resistance. It takes a historical perspective on the subject, beginning with an examination of Coch and French's [1948. Overcoming resistance to change. Human Relations, 1, 512-532] influential work on resistance, especially their assertion that resistance does not arise from the individual, but from the context in which the change takes place. The article explains that their work was part of a long-running series of studies of change by Kurt Lewin. This leads on to a review of the development of the resistance literature since their article was published. This is followed by an examination of four theories of resistance, which shows that they are consistent with and help develop Coch and French's work. The article concludes by arguing that taking a ‘long view' enables us to see why their work provided not only the foundations for our understanding of RTC, but also how it can be built on to produce a rounded and robust view of RTC.

Coch and French; resistance; change; Lewin

Journal of Change Management: Volume 15, Issue 2

Author(s)Burnes, Bernard
Publication date31/12/2015
Publication date online21/11/2014
PublisherTaylor and Francis
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