IJMB Journal – Abstracts
International Journal of Management and Business
IJMB Volume VIII, Issue 1
Human Reaction to Change: The Reality and Impact of Stress
Tonja Blom, Rica Viljoen
Change has become dominant within organisations and manychange approaches exist. However, the impact of change on the individual and the reality of elevated stress levels during periods of organisational change is often disregarded. Creating meaningful and sustainable change then becomes challenging.This study followed a qualitative research approach and adopted grounded theory methodology.Stress, fear and anxiety dominated the research data which indicatedthat individuals find it difficult to engage with change in a meaningful manner.Human reactions to change informed us that organisations have to regard an individual’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual elements. Only when all these elements receive sufficientattention can there be coherence and meaningful individual contribution.Our research data indicated that heightened stress levels are often ignored as few organisational resources are available to support individuals through an organisational change process. Indeed, few organisations are able to effectively address elevated stress levels. The importance of leadership surfaced as leaders must help individuals to gain a sense of identity during change. Granting individuals proper guidance through the “nightmare” of uncertainty, unpredictability and chaos empowers employees to better engage with change. Offering individuals anxiety, stress and fear relievers, could provide them with new tools for emotional stability and creativity.
Keywords: Human reaction to change; leadership; organisational change; stress; transformation.