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Resistance to organisational change: the role of defence mechanisms

Wayne H. Bovey (Bovey Management (Certified Consultants), Queensland, Australia)
Andrew Hede (University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 1 November 2001



Observes that the published literature on resistance to organisational change has focused more on organisational issues rather than individual psychological factors. The present study investigated the role of both adaptive and maladaptive defence mechanisms in individual resistance. Surveys were conducted in nine organisations undergoing major change and responses were obtained from 615 employees. The results indicate that five maladaptive defence mechanisms are positively correlated with behavioural intention to resist change, namely, projection, acting out, isolation of affect, dissociation and denial. The adaptive defence mechanism of humour was found to be negatively correlated with resistance intention. Identifies two intervention strategies which can be used by management to address the effects of defence mechanisms on resistance during periods of change in organisations.



Bovey, W.H. and Hede, A. (2001), "Resistance to organisational change: the role of defence mechanisms", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 16 No. 7, pp. 534-548.




Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited