Saturday, September 19, 2009

Recasting Innovation Resistance?

During periods of fiscal exigency, corporate innovation efforts may be associated with greater urgency, pressure, and risk than are similar organizational activities in more tranquil times (Kotter, 1995). Corporate leadership may become more frustrated by and less tolerant of behavior exhibited by employees and customers (Caruth et al., 1985), and may become competitive, defensive, or uncommunicative (Ford & Ford, 2009). Moreover, leaders may label a broad range of behavior as indicative of resistance to innovation efforts, and may consider such behavior as justification for operating in different and potentially more aggressive ways toward employees to signal that the behaviors are not aligned with the innovation process and are therefore unacceptable. Valid questioning of specific planned innovations by employees may receive an uncharacteristically harsh response from leaders who feel mounting economic claustrophobia. Leaders, has your innovation insight been muddied during this economic slump?

Dr. Gary Oster
Regent University
School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship


Innovation, corporate communications, employee relations, leadership, strategy


Caruth, D., Middlebrook, B., & Rachel, F. (1985). Overcoming resistance to change. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 50(3), 23-28.
Ford, J. & Ford, L. (2009). Decoding resistance to change. Harvard Business Review, 87(4), 99-103.
Kotter, J. (1995). Leading change: why transformation efforts fail. Harvard Business Review, 73(2), 59–67.