This page is older archived content from an older version of the Emerald Publishing website.

As such, it may not display exactly as originally intended.

Resistance to change: redefining and resituating its role in change management

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Organizational Change Management

Special issue on Resistance to change: redefining and resituating its role in change management

Guest Editors: Donna M. Carlon, Alexis Downs and Stacia Wert-Gray

As Ford et al. (2008) point out, much of the research regarding resistance to change in organizations has focused on its irrationality and unreasonableness. This perspective pits change agents against change recipients, demanding a win/lose strategy to resolve the conflict. Resistance is portrayed as the enemy of change, even though dissent can play a positive role in many other areas of management (Schultz-Hardt et al., 2002; Nemeth et al., 2001). In this special issue of JOCM, we would like to expand the dialogue surrounding the nature of resistance to change in organizations and invite papers that explore its role in effective change management. What can we learn if resistance is treated as an essential element of change rather than something to be squashed?
Piderit (2000) suggested that too much change scholarship has focused on the negative aspects of resistance, and in the process overly-simplified it as a dichotomous event. She proposed a more complex definition of resistance involving emotional, cognitive, and intentional responses. Rather than defining resistance as "always bad", i.e. negative responses in all three dimensions, Piderit (2000) contended that responses to change are rarely consistently all negative (or all positive).

Resistance to organizational change is seen as a complex mixture of context, attitudes, and processes by Macri et al. (2002). The authors demonstrated that change scholarship can explore all three levels of resistance, rather than just one, as seems to be the case with most empirical studies (Macri et al., 2002, p. 292).

We invite articles that are conceptual in nature, presenting a case for complete redefinition of resistance and change, or complementary, extending current lines of change scholarship. The Guest Editors encourage interdisciplinary and international contributions.

We would like to receive the proposed paper abstracts before 15th April 2011. The authors of accepted proposals should submit the papers before 30th September 2011. The review and possible revision process should be completed before 1st December 2011 as we would like to publish our special issue in the second half of 2012. All proposals and submissions should be sent to one of the following guest editors:

Donna Carlon, Professor, University of Central Oklahoma, [email protected] 
Alexis Downs, Professor, Emporia State University, Kansas, [email protected].

Don't resist the resistance call! 


Ford, J.D., Ford, L.W. and D'Amelio, A. (2008), "Resistance to change: the rest of the story", Academy of Management Review, Vol. 33, pp. 362-77.

Macri, D. M., Tagliaventi, M.R. and Bertolotti, F. (2002), "A grounded theory for resistance to change in a small organization", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 15, pp. 292-310.

Nemeth, C.J., Connell, J.B., Rogers, J.D. and Brown, K.S. (2001). "Improving decision making by means of dissent", Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 31, pp. 48-58.

Piderit, S. K. (2000), "Rethinking resistance and recognizing ambivalence: a multidimensional view of attitudes toward an organizational change", Academy of Management Review, Vol. 25,
pp. 783-94.

Schulz-Hardt, S., Jochims, M. and Frey, D. (2002), "Productive conflict in group decision making: genuine and contrived dissent as strategies to counteract biased information seeking", Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, Vol. 88, pp. 563-86.