The Psychology of Change
Attitudes towards change result from a complex interplay of emotions, past experiences and thought processes. Because of this complexity everyone reacts to change differently. On the positive side, change may represent opportunity, rejuvenation, progress, innovation, and growth. But just as legitimately, change can also symbolize instability, upheaval, unpredictability, threat, and disorientation.
Whether employees perceive change with fear, anxietyand demoralization, or with excitement and confidence,or somewhere in between, depends on the individual’s psychological makeup, on how management presents it, and on the actual description of the change itself. However, implementing new procedures, technologies, and overcoming resistance to change is fundamentally the role of management and must be handled with sensitivity.
Typically the objective is to maximize the collective benefits for all the people involved in the change and to minimize the risk of failure of implementing the change. The discipline of change management deals primarily with the human aspect of change, and is therefore related to the applications of human psychology.
It is management’s job to create an environment in which people handle change in the most positive way. Effective change management programs are frequently sequential, with early measures directed at overcoming the initial apprehension, denial, anger, and resentment, but gradually evolving into a program that supports compliance, acceptance, and internalization.