University of Twente Student Theses


Unravelling the relationship between organisational inertia, change resistance and (un)learning

Woelders, S. (2020) Unravelling the relationship between organisational inertia, change resistance and (un)learning.

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Abstract:Most prior research has stressed factors on an organisational level, such as rapid changes in an organisation’s environment, as primary drivers behind organisational inertia. However, the current study argues that individual’s resistance to change is also a critical factor which fosters organisational inertia. Ultimately, the goal of this study was to construct a theoretical research model through an extensive theoretical framework which connects change resistance attitudes to organisational inertia and the (un)learning sources to change resistance attitudes. Furthermore, the goal was to find first empirical evidence for the research model. The individual change resistance attitudes were extracted from a comprehensive literature review conducted by Choi (2011), which entail readiness-, openness-, commitment- and cynicism to change. Commitment to change was extended with Herscovitch & Meyer’s (2002) three component model, which consists of affective-, continuance- and normative commitment. Subsequently, remedies for change resistance attitudes were extracted from multiple studies, such as a synthetisation of widely-acknowledged learning theories (Dochy, Gijbels, Segers, & Van den Bossche, 2012) which were unlearning, dialogue, experimentation and interaction with the external environment. Multiple hypotheses were formulated and answered through a questionnaire in one middle-sized organisation in the Netherlands. The questionnaire was filled in by 121 participants and contained 56 items which were extracted from previous empirical research. Multiple regression analyses resulted in partially confirmation of all hypotheses. Taken together, the research model was able to explain some significant relations between organisational inertia, change resistance attitudes and (un)learning sources, but not all, implicating the complex nature of organisational inertia and more broadly episodic organisational change. Several theoretical and practical implications, limitations and suggestions for further research are suggested. For instance, further research could fundamentally reconstruct the concepts of, and interaction between unlearning and inertia.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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