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Chapter V. Resistance: A Medium for the ... > Understanding Resistance Over Time

Understanding Resistance Over Time

The writers of classical organisation theory viewed conflict as undesirable, detrimental to the organisation. Ideally it should not exist. Their prescription was simple: Eliminate it (Rowe & Boise, 1973, p. 151).

Resistance has been classically understood as a foundation cause of conflict that is undesirable and detrimental to organisational health. During the 1940s theorists considered unity of purpose to be the hallmark of a technically efficient and superior organisation, whilst considering pluralism and divergent attitudes as greatly reducing the organisation’s effectiveness and impeding its performance. Resistance was therefore understood as the emergence of divergent opinions that detract from the proficiency of the organisation and the resistant worker was painted as a subversive whose individual self-interest clashed with the general interest and well-being of the organisation. Resistance quickly became understood as the enemy of change, the foe which causes a change effort to be drawn out by factional dissent and in-fighting. The prescription of this viewpoint was to eliminate resistance, quash it early and sweep it aside in order to make way for the coming change (Rowe & Boise, 1973, p. 151).


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