Embedded fears

• Potential changes in the wage and salary administration program

Tables 2-7 through 2-10 show the causes of resistance and possible solutions. Workers tend to seek constancy and often fear that new initiatives will push them outside their comfort zones. Most workers are already pressed for time in their current jobs and fear that new programs will require more time and energy.

Some companies feel compelled to continually undertake new initiatives, and people may become skeptical of these programs, especially if previous initiatives have not been successful. The worst case scenario is when employees are asked to undertake new initiatives, procedures, and processes that they do not understand.

It is imperative that we understand resistance to change. If individuals are happy with their current environment, there will be resistance to change. But what if people are unhappy? There will still be resistance to change unless (1) people believe that the change is possible, and (2) people believe that they will somehow benefit from the change.

Management is the architect of the change process and must develop the appropriate strategies so the organization can change. This is done best by developing a shared understanding with employees by doing the following:

• Explaining the reasons for the change and soliciting feedback

• Explaining the desired outcomes and rationale


Cause of Resistance Ways to Overcome

• New guidelines/processes • Dictate mandatory conformance from above

• Need to share "power" information • Create new comfort zones at an acceptable pace

• Creation of a fragmented work environment • Identify tangible/intangible individual benefits

• Need to give up established work patterns (learn new skills)

• Change in comfort zones


Cause of Resistance

• Unknown new relationships

• Multiple bosses

• Multiple, temporary assignments

• Severing of established ties

Ways to Overcome

• Maintain existing relationships

• Avoid cultural shock

• Find an acceptable pace for rate of change

• Championing the change process

• Empowering the appropriate individuals to institutionalize the changes

• Investing in training necessary to support the changes

For most companies, the change management process will follow the pattern shown in Figure 2-28. Employees initially refuse to admit the need for change. As management begins pursuing the change, the support for the change diminishes and pockets of resistance crop up. Continuous support for the change by management encourages employees to explore the potential opportunities that will result from the change about to take place. Unfortunately, this exploration often causes additional negative information to surface, thus reinforcing the resistance to change. As pressure by management increases, and employees begin to recognize the benefits of the proposed change, support begins to grow.

The ideal purpose of change management is to create a superior culture. There are different types of project management cultures based upon the nature of the business, the amount of trust and cooperation, and the competitive environment. Typical types of cultures include:

• Cooperative cultures: These are based upon trust and effective communications, internally and externally.

• Noncooperative cultures: In these cultures, mistrust prevails. Employees worry more about themselves and their personal interests than what's best for the team, company, or customer.


Cause of Resistance Ways to Overcome


Cause of Resistance Ways to Overcome


Fear of failure

• Educate workforce on benefits of changes to the


Fear of termination



Fear of added workload

• Show willingness to admit/accept mistakes


Fear or dislike of uncertainty/unknowns

• Show willingness to pitch in


Fear of embarrassment

• Transform unknowns into opportunities


Fear of a "we/they" organization

• Share information


Causes of Resistance Ways to Overcome

• Shifts in authority and power • Link incentives to change

• Lack of recognition after the changes • Identify future advancement opportunities/career path

• Unknown rewards and punishment

• Improper evaluation of personal performance

• Multiple bosses

• Competitive cultures: These cultures force project teams to compete with one another for valuable corporate resources. In these cultures, project managers often demand that the employees demonstrate more loyalty to the project than to their line managers. This can be disastrous when employees are working on many projects at the same time.

• Isolated cultures: These occur when a large organization allows functional units to develop their own project management cultures and can result in a culture-within-a-culture environment.

• Fragmented cultures: These occur when part of the team is geographically separated from the rest of the team. Fragmented cultures also occur on multinational projects, where the home office or corporate team may have a strong culture for project management but the foreign team has no sustainable project management culture.

Cooperative cultures thrive on effective communication, trust, and cooperation.

Decisions are based upon the best interest of all of the stakeholders. Executive sponsorship

FIGURE 2-28. Change process.

FIGURE 2-28. Change process.

is passive, and very few problems go to the executive levels for resolution. Projects are managed informally and with minimal documentation and few meetings. This culture takes years to achieve and functions well during favorable and unfavorable economic conditions.

Noncooperative cultures are reflections of senior management's inability to cooperate among themselves and with the workforce. Respect is nonexistent. These cultures are not as successful as a cooperative culture.

Competitive cultures can be healthy in the short term, especially if there is abundant work. Long-term effects are usually not favorable. In one instance, an electronics firm regularly bid on projects that required the cooperation of three departments. Management then implemented the unhealthy decision of allowing each of the three departments to bid on every job. The two "losing" departments would be treated as subcontractors.

Management believed that this competitiveness was healthy. Unfortunately, the long-term results were disastrous. The three departments refused to talk to one another and stopped sharing information. In order to get the job done for the price quoted, the departments began outsourcing small amounts of work rather than using the other departments that were more expensive. As more work was outsourced, layoffs occurred. Management then realized the disadvantages of the competitive culture it had fostered.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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