HOW much education do you need to understand the term 'change'; Form Four? Form Six? College? The answer is of course none of the above! Mothers change diapers every other day without one certificate in their name. Beyond changing diapers, however, the term 'change' is pretty complex.
Cassell's French English Dictionary describes change as the "exchange of money; the exchange office… agent de change, stock broker; course du change, rate of exchange".
A practical application of the French meanings would be something like, "donner la monnaie de change," to mean return my change. But there is also a French meaning in which the term refers to changing a situation--or an organization--for the better, 's'ameliorer.'
In the English language, the term change has countless synonyms: It can mean alter, modify, mutate, deviate, shift, reform. Change can also mean, transform, sing a different tune, modify, reverse, metamorphose, innovate, introduce new blood, reform, overturn."
These English meanings pose some problems by the way. Change in a family, in a company, in a corporation or even in the running of a nation can more often than not be seen as a way of overturning something. Underscore the term overturne.
As a result, people in positions of decision-making in the family, in a company, in a nation, always resist change. It has been established, scientifically, that if you are trying to change the way things are done and managed in an organization--be it a company, a family, or even a nation--you are always going to meet resistance to change. People fall in love with the old way of doing things, even when they may be faulty.
You are a new manager at an organization; workmates used to doing things in a certain way in the past will are likely to set strategies to sabotage your new ideas, or maybe even to sabotage your very entry into the organization.
Hypothetically, if there was a manager running a corporation which has branches in every city and town in Tanzania, and an opportunity had come which threatened to replace the old manager and to make other changes, it would not be a surprise if branch managers worked tooth and nail to protect the old manager as a function of resisting change.
I am reading a book by Samuel Certo which says “resistance (to change) generally exists because organization members fear some personal loss as a result of the proposed change." Examples of this feared personal loss include the possibility of a reduction in personal prestige, a disturbance of established social and working relationships, and personal failure due to an inability to carry out a new job responsibility.
Forgive my slight mention of politics here, but this analysis does apply to anything that involves management of humans--which includes politics. I want to admit I admire the slow chipping away of municipalities from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) in favour of the opposition, as opposed to a sudden revolution. This is like a slow change similar to the so-called "tentative change." You prepare people for a bigger change in the days to come.
While I am inclined to believe vote rigging can easily be explained by the 'resistance to change' theorem in which government workers will side with the old manager , in fear of the advent of a new manager, I do see some very positive steps being taken by the very same government to usher in change--slowly.
I didn't get time to review extra reference material on this topic, but I strongly believe Certo is an authority, and what I now share with you is fact, not fiction. It is useful in any organization where change is determined the solution to existing problems.
There are a couple of ideas useful in reducing resistance to change. These include approaching change by the use of "Tentative Change." This approach establishes a trial period in which workers are placed under a new system but only as a trial. After this period, they are given a change to say whether they like it or not.
The new idea is under very serious risk of being rejected if something should go wrong during the tentative approach, which means the leaders in the administration areas where there is a tentative change program going on have to be extremely careful. The ousted camp can use this understanding to undermine achievements of the new administration to facilitate a rejection of the new idea. The tentative change approach can be tricky for those in the new authority.
In a corporation, the most powerful tool for reducing resistance to change is the management positive attitude toward change. If people who matter are cheerful about the proposed change, it helps the other people to feel safe.
Then there is the need to talk about any intended change, like the recent constitutional conference at the University of Dar es Salaam where the system allowed people to discuss changing the Tanzania constitution. Talking extensively about a proposed change promotes understanding of the proposed change. So that once it is understood, chances are that the change will be accepted. Experts argue vigorously against any surprise changes in an organization.