The likelihood of organisational change success is commonly held to be dependent on how resistance to the change is planned for and managed. Stakeholders who resist change are seen to hold various levels of power or influence over change initiatives, and this power can originate from multiple different sources. There is extensive research literature considering the aspects of stakeholders, power and resistance, but little is evident relating the dimensions to each other to consider the architecture holistically. This research aims to form an exploratory study into the interrelationships between the three dimensions.
To acquire data, an exploratory research approach was undertaken comprising face-to-face, in-depth expert interviews with fifteen professional change agents from three different sample groups. A range of qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques were applied to determine common trends and relationships across the three key dimensions and sub-categories identified from the literature which related to each dimension.
A number of interesting and useful relationships were uncovered within and between the key dimensions and extend the current literature in this field. It was discovered that the higher the magnitude of power held by a stakeholder the more likely it was that they would show resistance. Further findings confirmed links between the types of behaviour (active or passive, overt or covert) and revealed multidimensional influences such as that certain types of stakeholder could be expected to have higher levels of power and thus resist more and in the course of enacting that they would behave more actively and overtly. These relationships allowed for the development of a stakeholder-power-resistance model as shown in Figure 17 which can be used by managers and change practitioners to understand, anticipate and respond to stakeholder resistance in change initiatives.