Resistance to change at a South African mining surface operation
Change is the only constant in life, hence why it necessitates organisations to reinvent themselves, via transformations, in order for them to survive technological advances within the industry and to hold out through tough, volatile economic periods, also brought about by change. Change within an organisation is a daunting task, and according to literature, approximately 70 percent of meaningful changes executed by organisations, fail. One of the main reasons for this occurrence is the resistance exerted by their employees. In view of this, the present study aimed to bare whether employees based at a South African mining surface operation exert traces of resistance to change. According to literature it was found that the reasons for employees to resist change could include fear of the unknown and inadequate understanding of the need for the change. People also resist change when the change endangers their jobs, their routines as well as their power or status in an organisation. When the benefits and rewards for implementing these changes do not outweigh the effort involved, change is also not accepted. Resistance, however, can be successfully managed if the factors that give birth to the resistance can be identified and managed accordingly. In this study, factors such as personal competency, job satisfaction, affective commitment, personal perception of change and change readiness were included and evaluated as specific elements of resistance and readiness in employees. The results showed that employees at a South African mining surface operation is likely to resist change when it was perceived as uncertain, if it raised negative feelings, if it threatened their job security and when they perceived that the potential losses outweighed the gains. The respondents also indicated that they did not perceive to have any real influence nor input in the organisation's decision-making processes. Further results showed that a statistically weak positive correlation, at a 99% confidence level, could be drawn between personal competency and work-related basic needs satisfaction. This finding was also confirmed by literature which was included in the literature review. Yet, the results from this investigation did not indicate significant relationships between change readiness and resistance to change. This, however, is in contrast to what some literature showed. The study includes conclusions from the literature review and the empirical study. Recommendations, as well as possible future research were indicated.
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