Palmer (2004) defines ‘resistance to change’ – the lack of acceptance of change by the people affected while Dent & Goldberg (1999) believes that people do not really resist to change but elements like loss of status among others. Rowitz (2010) sees management as a basic administration process that involves use of structured activities including planning, organizing and staff management among others that can be used to expedite change in an organization. On the other hand, leadership focuses on utilization and learning of new skills with regards to changes in reality and context incorporating elements such as innovation, strategic planning and coaching among others.
‘Resistance to Change’, Leaders and Managers
Dent & Goldberg (1999) highlights that understanding the concept of ‘resistance to change’ can help managers manage change effectively by identifying specific elements that lead to resistance to required changes while avoiding ill-informed, unproductive actions. This is affirmed by Todnem (2005) who, by acknowledging management should focus on managing the leadership of organizational change, espouses the need to understand ‘resistance to change’ as a way of identifying new ways of renewing a firm’s direction and capabilities towards goal achievement. This means that by understanding ‘resistance to change’, managers and leaders have to work together to stimulate positive organizational change.
Leaders and Advocates Public Health
My greatest admiration for Public Health leaders and advocates goes to the retired director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr. Mirta Roses Periago and the current Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan. This is mostly because of their advocacy and leadership roles and positive outcomes on a transnational and global scale like strengthening leadership of healthcare institutions and prevention of major outbreaks like SARS while establishing long-term policies and practices to support national and global health initiatives. As Koh (2009) speaks of Dr. Freeman’s major accomplishment as his dedication to a global cancer-free vision, Dr. Periago and Chan’s focus on the future on a grand scale makes the invaluable as leader and managers in public health.
Resistance to Change: Detrimental Actions
Dent & Goldberg (1999) believes that people do not really resist to change but elements like loss of status among others which means focusing on an ill-defined concept of ‘resistance to change’ can lead to inappropriate and unproductive actions. For instance, public health personnel may resist to change because they will be uncomfortable with new people in other departments where such adaptation to change is shown by Hirschhorn (2002) to undermine firm success due to uncertainties tied to new processes and practices. However, identification of specific elements that people resist against while applying Palmer’s (2004) change management directions and Mintzberg’s (1987) five P’s strategy in coming up with a solution to that resistance can aid in effecting positive firm change.
- Dent, E.B. & Goldberg, S.G. (1999). Challenging “resistance to change”. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 35(1), 25-41.
- Hirschhorn, L. (2002). Campaigning for change. Harvard Business Review, 80(7), 98–104.
- Koh, H.K. (2009). Leadership in public health. Journal of Cancer Education, 24: S11–S18.
- Mintzberg, H. (1987). The strategy concept I: Five Ps for strategy. California Management
Review, 30(1), 11-24.
- Rowitz, L. (2010). Management and Leadership. Journal of Public Health Management
Practice, 16(2), 174–176.