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Resistance to change - a monitor of new technology

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This paper examines the credibility of the deficit model of resistance to change in a case study on office automation. A functional analysis of resistance to change is conducted using narrative interviews and documentary analysis. Resistance to change is shown to occur and to affect the implementation process: resistance is identified as a useful source of information, directing the attention of the change agency to improve hardware, software, and the organization. User attitudes were found to change: global skepticism developed into critical acceptance of the office system. The decision-making criteria changed during the 3-year period of the case study. More criteria were used, with user-friendliness becoming more prominent in the decision criteria. The case highlights some limitations of Lewinian field theory in studying resistance to change. Systems theory may provide a more useful framework, organized around the principle that resistance to change is a functional selfmonitoring subsystem guiding the internal adjustment of the changing organization and thus securing effectiveness. This approach may have wider implications for the analysis of social change.

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