Manager’s Resistance to Organizational Change: Lesson from Ethiopian Commercial Banking Sector

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Management, College of Business and Economics, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar Ethiopia

2 GOLDIE Management Consultancy Service (GMCS), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


The thinking and the practice of managing resistance to change is usually associated with change recipient’s psychological set up. In most cases, employees are either implicitly or explicitly considered as the prime source of resistance. Exploring the initiation and implementation of organizational change in Ethiopian commercial banks, this research found out that resistance to change does not have a single source – employees. Multiple cases of strategic organizational change initiatives in Ethiopian banks revealed relatively uncommon notion of “manager’s resistance” to organizational changes and different manifestations of it. In addition to resistant managers, there were also situations where organizational owners do not support change initiatives that are believed to improve organizational performance; not because they are in doubt about the need for such changes, but they simply do not care. This explorative work intends to bring the idea of reconsidering the normatively assumed source of resistance to the attention of scholars. Adding this notion to the repertoire of attributes of resistance to change in the existing body of knowledge could initiate debate on the validity of this new perspective and on the possibility of realizing less resisted changes in organizations.