BUS610: Organizational Behavior (MOC1504A)
Instructor: Rollis Erickson
Resistance to Change: Windows 8.1
In my 24 year career in the Coast Guard, I went through several organizational changes. However, I was not involved in those changes; I received my orders and carried them out. My response to change was, “eye-eye sir.” We did not fire people, people could not quit, and we did not question orders. Change was a fact of life. Any resistance to it was in the form of grumbling. Active resistance to any order would have been insubordinate and punishable. While I wasn’t involved in organizational changes, I have first hand experience leading organizations through changes in technology. This paper will discuss change from an information technology (IT) perspective.
Change is constant in the IT field. Professionals in the IT field learn how to cope with it early in their careers. Most changes are welcome and some are not. A new central processing unit (CPU) or other hardware that improves software performance is a change that would be sought after and not resisted. Any change that requires re-learning a system or application will be unwelcome by most people. People develop work habits and become proficient in their use of the computer through practice. Having to learn something new takes time. It may take a day, week or month to become proficient after a change. My wife works in an insurance claim company. When their claim software changed, workers fell behind. Managers expected workers to produce to the same levels that they did before the change. Workload was not lightened and the resulting backlog caused stress and long hours until the work was caught up.
In 2012, Microsoft released Windows 8, which completely changed the look and navigation style from its predecessor, Windows 7. This change was not only a shock but was unwelcome to IT professionals. Even though Windows 7 was released in 2009, it did not bring anything new to businesses. Many organizations continued to use WindowsXP because it was stable. Additionally, changing system documentation, for an operating system that didn’t bring anything new to the organization, didn’t make sense. I can still remember my first IT supervisor’s motto, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.” That was the sentiment at many organizations. Microsoft stopped supporting WindowsXP in April 2014. This forced the hand of IT managers that cannot use unsupported software for various reasons.
Organizations are now upgrading their WindowsXP operating systems but they are upgrading to Windows 7 instead of Windows 8. “[Businesses] are ignoring Windows 8,” said HP project manager Jeff Wood (Nazario & Preece, 2014). NASA upgraded to Windows 7 but resisted upgrading to Windows 8 because Windows 7 was working well (Keizer, 2010).
What was seen as an initial resistance to change by Microsoft, turned into feet-dragging, avoidance, and kicking-and-screaming by IT professionals. In October 2013, Microsoft released an update, to what Cnn.com (2013) referred to as a radically altered operating system, version 8.1. Windows 8.1 addressed the problems or features that drew so many complaints but the damage was done.
The organization I support is currently going through a change. The decision has been made to upgrade from Windows XP but the change has not yet been implemented. There has been some resistance from IT support technicians and users who have been exposed to Windows 8 on their home computers. The people who complain base their complaints on the initial experience with Windows 8 and not Windows 8.1.
Baack (2012) identified five reasons that individual employees resist change; self-interest, lack of understanding, lack of trust in management, differing assessments of the need for change and low tolerance for change. In the case of my organization, self-interest is a factor as it applies to employee