Methods for Dealing with Resistance to Change

Approach Commonly Used in Situations Advantages Drawbacks
Education + communication Where there is a lack of information or inaccurate information and analysis. Once persuaded, people will often help with the implementation of the change. Can be very time-consuming if lots of people are involved
Participation + involvement Where the initiators do not have all the information they need to design change, and where others have considerable power to resist. People who participate will be committed to implementing change, and any relevant information they have will be integrated into the change plan. Can be very time-consuming if participators design an inappropriate change.
Facilitation + support Where people are resisting because of adjustment problems. No other approach works as well with adjustment problems. Can be time-consuming, expensive, and still fail..
Negotiation + agreement Where someone or some group will clearly lose out in a change, and where that group has considerable power to resist. Sometimes it is a relatively easy way to avoid major resistance. Can be too expensive in many cases if it alert others to negotiate for compliance.
Manipulation + co-optation Where other tactics will not work, or are too expensive. It can be a relatively quick and inexpensive solution to resistance problems. Can lead to future problems if people feel manipulated.
Explicit + implicit coercion Where speed is essential, and the change initiators possess considerable power. It is speedy, and can overcome any kind of resistance. Can be risky if it leaves people mad at the initiators.

Source: What Leaders Really Do, by John Kotter, p.45

cf.: Negative Responses to Change
cf.: Stages of Commitment


Primary Goals sits at the intersection of three core ideas about communication:
  • Leaders create vision by communicating a compelling future to their teams.
  • Teams create success based on how effectively the communicate and coordinate with each other.
  • Entrepreneurial ventures are successful only when they communicate value to people with a concern that the business can take care of
In all cases, it’s about Conversations for Committed Results.  That’s our Primary Goal.  



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