7. The psychological philosophy: ‘changing minds’ INTRODUCTION Change management philosophies tend to ignore how individuals respond to change. While the rational and cultural philosophies acknowledge both change acceptance and change avoidance, they do not consider the psychology of traumatic change. Consider Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ (1969) renowned fivestage model describing how people come to terms with serious loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Although an oversimplification of change responses, particularly when traumatic, the stages exemplify the dynamic nature of change psychology. For example, initially an employee foresees no need for any change at all, or believes that the proposed changes will never be implemented. Once change becomes inevitable, employees direct their dissatisfaction towards management over the trauma and discomfort caused. Next, through bargaining, the employee hopes that a compromise can be found, abbreviating the full change programme. Depression follows after implementation as the employee questions whether the change was worth the sacrifice. Eventually, acceptance arrives to make the best of the change. Bridges (1995) similarly described three stages in the transition process: endings, the neutral zone and new beginnings. A detailed analysis of each stage helps diagnose employees’ stress and health. The psychological philosophy of organizational change treats the impact of change as complex, powerful and potentially severe. People become accustomed to performing tasks in certain ways that make them feel comfortable and proficient. Changing tasks or priorities undermines their sense of mastery and replaces it with fears about inadequate performance, escalating workloads, ridicule and termination. The psychological philosophy assumes that...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.