UW iSchool student Nick Sweers and Assistant Professor Kevin C. Desouza have collaborated to author a new paper in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Business Strategy. The paper, titled "Shh! It's Vive La Résistance," highlights the challenges of dealing with underground resistance when leading organizational change efforts. You can find the abstract on Dr. Desouza's blog.
The paper was written as a class assignment for IMT 581, Information and the Management of Change, during autumn quarter 2009. Nick Sweers, the primary author, is a current student in the day residential Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program, and Kevin Desouza is an Assistant Professor at the iSchool, as well as an adjunct Assistant Professor at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering at the College of Engineering.
Underground resistance has deterred many change management efforts. Moreover, strategies to address underground resistance are still at a nascent stage of development in management practice and literature. The case tells the story of Sam Bridgeport, a Senior Partner at a major consulting firm in Seattle, who has been charged with leading a restructuring effort that will significantly affect the everyday operations of the organization. Unlike past change management initiatives, which often failed, Bridgeport encourages employee participation from the start. As a result, he is able to mitigate most of the opposition against his plan, but he soon discovers he gravely underestimated the natural human tendency to resist change. Bridgeport becomes aware of a covert, underground resistance effort and must develop measures to counter it.
Executive response to the article was provided by Mark R. Jones, CEO, The Sunyata Group and George Head, Senior Vice President Broadband Services for Stratos Global. The inclusion of this response was designed to provide an incentive for greater participation from other business leaders in scholarship emerging from the MSIM program.