Agreeing to change: the reciprocity effect | The Oxford Review - OR Briefings

Agreeing to change: the reciprocity effect

Research Briefing

Keywords: Organisational change, change, reciprocity, uncertainty, financial exchange, effort

Whilst there have been a number of attempts to redefine the idea of resistance to change, (indeed some researchers argue that there is no such thing) there is still a lot of research ongoing about this topic. The majority of studies about resistance to change comprise survey type studies. The problem with this is that it is almost impossible to control the variables and say with any level of certainty what may be the cause of resistance to change.

A paper just published by researchers from the Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, Germany reports on a series of experimental investigations looking at the conditions that bring about successful implementation of organisational change. Part of the problem with many previous studies is that they have not been able to isolate the employees that will gain or lose from any proposed organisational change. The theory behind this study is that it is a relatively simple issue that creates resistance to change: employer reciprocity, or giving something in return for the expected changes.


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