Change and Resistance To Change

This post emphasizes on the impacts of change in any organisation. In this era of globalization, it is necessary to change the strategies and organisational culture of the company, when needed, in order to get the best results.


Mullins (2010: 753) defines change as a simple fact of life, and nothing new. He has also emphasized on the fact that it totally depends on the personality of each individual whether they thrive on new challenges to be faced, or they resist the change and would want to maintain their status quo. (Mullins 2010)


Organisational development, which is focused on improving visioning, learning and problem solving process and decision making processes is led by the top management to ensure that organisational objectives are met in this phase of rapidly changing economic climate. (Mullins 2010:737)


The causes for the change in organisational culture can be identified as globalization, political instability or vast developments in technology and innovations. The organisations can therefore attain competitive advantage over its competitors by adapting the change and new trends in order to produce and deliver products to satisfy the customer needs. Successful adaptation to change can allow an organisation to attain optimum operational performance, as there will be a sense of support and co-operation throughout that will motivate the employees to work efficiently.


The current economic climate is rapidly changing and organisations have to adopt it or else they will suffer the consequences. According to Hamlin et al. (2001: 13), organisations that can manage change effectively, consider change as the driving force that perpetuates their future success and growth.


In the case of JC Penney, presented by Purkayastha D, the company has very rigid and firm set of rules of a formal organisational culture. The employees could only address their colleagues with their last names and were not allowed to design their cubicles. Above all this, an Office Police was assigned by the HR department to check if the employees were adhering to them or not. (ICMR 2007)


Myron Ullman became the CEO of JC Penney in 2004 with a long-term aim to take the organisation to the industry leadership level. Therefore, he acted as the Change Agent and brought changes in the organisational culture by introducing programs like “Just call me Mike”, cabin decorations and replacing the posters with photos of employees in order to motivate them. (ICMR 2007)


A leader of the organisation is able to successfully implement change when he understands all the parameters of organisational culture amongst its employees. Handy’s framework was followed by Ullman to implement the change of working culture in JC Penney.


Ullman realized that JC Penney was following Power and Role cultures from the Handy’s framework so he followed the Task and Person culture to implement the change.


Power culture is the responsibilities of the top management to implement the decisions in the organisations (Handy .The Office Police and Formal settings, which included formal dressings and restriction on cubicle decorations, are evidences of the Power culture. On the other hand, restriction on employees to enter certain area in the company can be said as part of the Role culture.


Ullman decided to follow Task culture, in which he disbanded the Office Police, introduced the Winning Together Principle and offer training and development to the employees by which democracy in the company was increased. Secondly, Person culture was followed in the form of relaxation of dress codes, “Just call me Mike” campaign which shifted a light of importance on the employees.


Some resisted this drastic change in the company, as they did not trust Ullman’s implementation and they felt the deficiency of freedom, security and irregular economical implications. To overcome this resistance of change, a leader need to have clear understanding of employee’s behavior and attachments with work, in order to guide them, which Ullman did and sustained the change in JC Penney’s organisational culture.


Hamlin, B., Keep, J. and Ash, K. (2001), Organisational Change And Development, FT Prentice Hall

 Handy, C.B. (1985) Understanding Organisations, 3rd Edition, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books

 Mullins, L. J. (2010), Management & Organisation Behaviour, 9th Edition, Prentice Hall.

 Purkayastha, D. (2007) Remaking What JC Penney’s Organisational Culture, ICMR Center For Management Research

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s