Fostering positive dialogue is a critical process when addressing change and crisis. This is because employees may resist organizational change. Researchers have defined resistance to organizational change as a restraining force moving in the direction of maintaining the status quo (Fleming and Spice, 2003). Employees resist organizational change since they sometimes fear that the change may modify their established working relationships in the organization. In addition to this, some employees fear that a certain organization change may threaten their job security (Ezzamel, Worthington and Willmott, 2001). This essay focuses on how ambivalence raised by Piderit can lead to various negative discursive reactions. It also points out how enactment and emotions can be used to make discursive process more positive during the both change and crisis.
Piderit (2000) argued that ambivalent attitudes could be used to explain employees’ resistance to changes. These attitudes include cognitive attitudes, emotional attitudes and intentional attitudes. Cognitive attitudes concentrate on how the beliefs of an employee would influence his decisions to accept organizational change. Emotional attitudes concentrate on how the feelings of an employee affect his attitude on change response. Intentional attitudes concentrate how an employee’s past of future behavior may affect his attitude on change response (Piderit, 2000). Piderit showed how ambivalence could lead to various negative discursive reactions to change. An employee can learn that the organization may be firing some of its workers in order to reduce its labor overheads. The news will shock or frustrate this employee and thus he may resist the change due to the fear of losing his job. In addition to this, this news may make the employee’s belief about the going concern of the company to change and thus he may have little faith in this company. This represents how ambivalence could lead to negative discursive reactions on change.
According to Orton (2000), enactment is the process by which organizational members create a stream of events that they pay attention to. Enactment helps to minimize the challenges associated with an organization concentrating on one dominant variable. Orton argued that this process helps managers to move from the traditional perspective of separating environments and organizations. This is because for an organization to succeed in the process of change, it needs to integrate external factors from the environment that may affect its change process. Enactment can be used to make discursive process more positive during crisis and change in several ways. Enactment process concentrates on the images of frontier when an organization redesigns its processes (Orton, 2000). This image helps an organization to redesign its processes more effectively and thus the employees welcome the process of change with a positive attitude. Furthermore, enactment uses garbage can model of decision-making developed by Cohen in 1972 (Orton, 2000). This model concentrates on different challenges, solutions opportunities and people that may affect the decision making process. By considering these factors, an organization makes better and detailed decisions about change and crisis management and thus making enactment to be more positive as a discursive process.
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Vince and Broussine (1996) argued that managers could use emotions to make the discursive process more positive during both change and crisis. They stated that three factors affect the emotional response of employees towards change. These factors are paradox, defense and attachments (Vince and Broussine, 1996). They proposed that all managers should follow a four-stage process in order to use emotions in making the discursive process more positive during both change and crisis. The first stage is working with complexity and uncertainty in the change process. This will assist the managers in accepting uncertainties that may occur during the process of change and thus they will accept all the feelings associated with change. The next stage that managers need to consider is reviewing the boundaries within different groups in the organization. This will help the managers anticipate the denial or acceptance of emotions among various groups of employees. In the relatedness stage, the manager assesses the extent at which the feelings of change are based on defensive reactions of employees. This helps the managers to understand the emotions of the employees better. The last stage is the working through stage. During this stage, Vince and Broussine (1996) realized that employees’ capacity to work through an issue was most powerful when it was done in real work experiences within the organization.
To conclude, it is evident that ambivalence can lead to various negative discursive reactions. This is because emotional attitudes may cause an employee to resist change due to the fear that a certain change may affect his job position. In addition to this, cognitive attitudes may cause an employee to resist change since the beliefs of an employee may not allow him to accept a certain change. Enactment can make the discursive process more positive during both change and crisis since it helps managers to move from the traditional perspective of separating environments and organization. This helps the employees to interact with the environment more and thus they easily accept organizational change. Managers can also use emotions to make the discursive process more positive. This is because if managers follow the four-stage model of managing emotions proposed by Vince and Broussine, they will be able to understand how emotions may make employees to accept change.
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