Appreciating Systems

Appreciating Systems for Genuine Efficiency
Home » Change » Inverse correlation between designing #change and resisting it.

Inverse correlation between designing #change and resisting it.

February 26th, 2015 Posted in Change Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I think you will spend 147 seconds reading this post

I’ve been told a very old study, dated back ni 1948 reported a negative correlation between designing and resisting to a change: the more you participated in designing a change, the less you resisted it.

Of course, we all know this (albeit still try to push our ideas onto others, making them resisting), but knowing it’s really old facts, with measures is really interesting to me.

I don’t have the full paper yet, but below is the information I was given about it. Update: I did finally found it, see bottom of this paper. Thanks to Patrick Hoverstadt for the references!

The study is French & Coch 1948. It was reprised by Etzioni in 64:

Coch and French’s study of the introduction of new working practices

The study

Coch and French divided a number of workers whose jobs were about to be changed into three groups. Group I were simply told by management that the change would be made. Group II were told why the changes were necessary and what would be involved and were also invited to choose representatives who would help to devise the retraining programme. Group III were told why the changes were necessary and what was involved, but, in this case, the whole group were invited to help to design and plan the new jobs and the retraining.


Groups II and III improved their production (Group III doing slightly better than Group II), whereas in Group I production declined. In Group I there was considerable turnover and a number of grievances, whilst in Groups II and III there was virtually no turnover and no grievances. In order to ensure that Group I’s poor performance was not due to personality or interpersonal factors, Coch and French did a follow-up study some time later, when the workers again had to change the nature of their jobs. This time the Group I workers were treated as those in Group III had been before. Their production and their job satisfaction increased.


Etzioni (1964) draws three important conclusions from this research:

  • communication between the ranks is vital, explaining to those affected why a particular course of action is to be followed;
  • participation in decision-making is very important, the lower ranks sharing in the decision-making process, especially where they are to be directly affected;
  • democratic leadership is a must – it must be highly communicative and must be concerned with the problems of the workers, not just those of the work.


I (Nicolas Stampf) have done a few Google searches and found out the following interesting links:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Mail List

Join the mailing list

Check your email and confirm the subscription