Paper instructions

Resistance and Communication

Watch the Resistance and Communication video for help getting started on this assignment.


Using your selected organization, diagnose the organization’s level of resistance, and construct a solid communication plan

write a 4–6-page paper in which you:

  1. Diagnose the reasons for resistance to change.
  2. Interpret the potential causes of resistance in the organization. Identify and describe three potential causes of resistance to your change plan. Identify and describe three potential sources of resistance to your change plan.
  3. Create a plan for minimizing possible resistance to your change management plan.
  4. Elaborate on the relationship between resistance to change and communication.
  5. Evaluate three communication strategies.
  6. Recommend one communication strategy that would be applicable to your organization. Diagnose why this communication strategy is best for your organization.
  7. Create a solid communication plan for your change initiative.
  8. Use at least four quality academic resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and other similar Websites do not qualify as academic resources.

If you choose to submit a video presentation, please also submit a one page summary of your presentation.

This course requires the use of Strayer Writing Standards. For assistance and information, please refer to the Strayer Writing Standards link in the left-hand menu of your course. Check with your professor for any additional instructions.

The specific course learning outcome associated with this assignment is:

  • Create a communication plan for a change initiative that will minimize resistance to change.


Resistance and Communication

There is great value in the proposed change in which Starbucks will offer sponsorships to willing employees so that they can expand their knowledge base. Even so, the proposed change is likely to encounter resistance, just like every other change plan. This change can occur at the individual as well as organizational level due to a number of factors. At the individual level, the proposed plan of offering sponsorships by Starbucks to its employees could be resisted due to factors such as perceived loss of control, misunderstanding of change objectives, and lack of tolerance among employees as well as managers. According to Bradutanu (2015), issues such as fear of unknown, lack of confidence, inadequate information regarding the purpose of the proposed change, and concerns of job security are some of the reasons why individuals resist change in organizations.

For the Starbucks case, there is a probability that some supervisors and managers may oppose the planned change out of fear that employees who are sponsored to advance their education will take over their bosses’ responsibilities once they complete their studies. Similarly, some employees may resist the change plan due to the fear that they will not complete the courses successfully. Additionally, unless all members in the organization are given all the information to help them understand why Starbucks is offering them sponsorships, they are likely to oppose the change.

At the organizational level, the proposed granting of sponsorships may be resisted due to a phenomenon known as group inertia. Bradutanu (2015, p.26) observes that “over time, employees get used to certain rules and procedures, form certain habits and establish particular friendships”. As such, any change that threatens to destabilize this kind of stability is likely to be resisted. At Starbucks, the effect of group inertia may manifest as follows: employees who belonged to a certain informal group will feel destabilized when one or more members of their group is selected for sponsorship because they may feel that these people will become different the moment they are enrolled into higher education institutions. Apart from this, there is the issue of resources: before any change plan is implemented, an assessment must be done to ensure that there are enough people to execute all key functions in the organization (Bradutanu, 2015). If it is felt that sponsoring a section of employees for higher education will create gaps and make the other employees overburdened, resistance is likely.

From the above discussion, it can be concluded that resistance to change in organizations is caused by factors such as lack of clarity of mission and objectives, lack of resources, and inability of managers to solve problems linked to the human resource (Lizar et al., 2019). The first and third causes stated above indicate the importance of effective communication in the change process. In other words, maintaining proper communication is a very effective strategy of minimizing resistance to change. In the words of Lizar et al. (2019, p.2), “effective communication can help individuals to understand the logic of the change process that includes what, why, when, who, how, and also what’s in [the change] for employees”. Stated in other words, there is a very strong connection between communication and resistance to change, the explanation being that until all stakeholders recognize the need for change and unless the change agents can convince stakeholders to embrace change, any change effort is bound to fail (Lewis, 2011).

In light of the above, a plan to minimize resistance to the proposed change at Starbucks would entail engaging all stakeholders in an open, detailed discussion of the need for the change, the budget, and how it would affect individuals and the organization in the short-term and long-term. Every stakeholder must be encouraged and allowed to participate in the discussion so that the fears mentioned earlier as reasons for resistance are addressed and dealt with. Other than communication, Starbucks should also ensure that justice prevails in the manner in which selection of candidates for the sponsorship is done. This recommendation is based on the fact that organizational justice is another potential cause of resistance to change. Of particular significance is the concept of distributive justice, which refers to employees’ perceptions regarding how fairly resources are allocated (Lizar et al., 2019). Therefore, Starbucks can minimize resistance to change by making the sponsorships open to any employee who is willing to advance their studies.

Having underscored the role that communication plays in change management, it is important to outline several communication strategies available for Starbucks as it plans to roll out sponsorship programs to employees. Communication strategies include internalizing information, instructing, and adjusting (Cheng, 2018). The instructional communication strategy is one where people are told or given instructions and directions on how to react to a proposed change. In contrast, adjusting is about helping people to understand and respond to the change, while internalizing is about helping people to create a positive picture of their organization in reference to the proposed change (Cheng, 2018). In other words, adjusting may be described  as a communication strategy whose focus is educating people so that they can understand why a proposed change is necessary. On the other hand, communicating with the motive of internalizing information focuses on maintaining conversations and personal connections with employees to encourage and motivate them to wholly support the change process (Cheng, 2018).

Among the three strategies described above, the third is chosen as the most appropriate for Starbucks. Managers of the company and especially the person spearheading the change initiative at Starbucks should keep in mind that forcing people to embrace change by telling them what they should do is nothing but counterproductive. The best approach is to help them emotionally code with the proposed change and reflect and internalize on the benefits of this change both now and in future. As such, regular conversations with employees, founded and mutual respect, would be the most effective for Starbucks as they would help employees to understand the value they stand to add to themselves and their employer if they take up the offer to advance their studies.

Change Communication Plan

ActivityTarget AudienceKey messages/specific objectivesTiming
Official announcement of the proposed changeAll Starbucks stakeholders·       Reasons/rationale for the proposed change   ·       Benefits to stakeholdersMarch 2nd  2021
Senior personnel meetingAll managers, department heads, and supervisors·       Discussing the proposed change   ·       Developing budget for the change initiative ·       Establishing specific roles and responsibilities of senior personnelMarch 5th 2021
First stakeholder meetingAll stakeholders·       Get buy-in   ·       Obtain stakeholder views, questions and concernsMarch 10th 2021
Recruiting of employees for the sponsorship planDepartmental heads and supervisors·       Identifying and collecting names of employees who are interested in the sponsorship programMarch 15th-31st 2021
Second senior personnel meetingAll managers, department heads, and supervisors·       Reviewing the list of interested employees   ·       Reviewing the budget  April 5th-6th
Second stakeholder meetingAll stakeholders·       How the program will be rolled out (key phases)April 28th 2021


Bradutanu, D. (2015). Resistance to change: A new perspective : a textbook for managers who plan to implement a change.

Cheng, Y. (2018). How social media is changing crisis communication strategies: Evidence from the updated literature. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management26(1), 58-68.

Lewis, L. K. (2011). Organizational change: Creating change through strategic communication. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lizar, A. A., Chrisanty, F. N., Novita, P. A., & Endaryono, S. S. D. T. (2019). Minimizing Resistance to Change: The Role of Communication and Perceived Organizational Justice. In SU-AFBE 2018: Proceedings of the 1st Sampoerna University-AFBE International Conference, SU-AFBE 2018, 6-7 December 2018, Jakarta Indonesia (p. 211). European Alliance for Innovation.

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