An exploration of the perceived relationship between the level of power of stakeholder groups and their resistance to organisational change

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Peer-Reviewed Research

Abstract:

The success of organisational change processes can be significantly enhanced by effectively addressing resistance to change among a range of stakeholders as well as the impact of their resistance. There is, however, limited research on the relationship between stakeholders’ level of power and their propensity to resist change in a certain manner. This study therefore explored the interrelationships between stakeholders’ perceived level of power and their type of resistance, via face-to-face, in-depth interviews with fifteen professional change agents from three sample groups comprising change consultants, internal human resource managers and internal senior managers, all of whom had led change interventions. The findings revealed surprising trends in that certain stakeholder groups showed resistance more actively and overtly than others in direct proportion to their levels of power. These results culminated in a conceptual framework on stakeholders, power and resistance. This article highlights important implications for managers and change practitioners.