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Title: Transforming employee resistance into organizational learning at a higher education institution in Palestine
Authors: Akella, Devi 
Khoury, Grace 
Keywords: Employee resistance - Palestine;Organizational behavior - Palestine;Organizational learning - Palestine;Organizational change - Universities and colleges - Palestine - Management -;College personnel management - Palestine;Change agents;Sensemaking
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal
Abstract: Purpose – This paper reconceptualizes resistance as a stimulant of organizational learning from a change agent’s perspective. Adopting a social constructivism lens, the paper argues that employee resistance has the capacity to trigger individual, group and organizational learning. It explores the “how” question—how can employee resistance be transformed into organizational learning? Design/methodology/approach – This study utilizes the qualitative research method of auto-ethnography. Sensemaking auto-ethnographic narrative accounts of two change agents, internal and external is used to synchronize resistance and learning as well as reflect on the positive impact of organizational change. Findings – Rather than, suppressing resistance as a dysfunctional aspect of the change process, becoming aware and making sense of this “misconstrued barrier” to learning and change can transform it into an appropriate feedback mechanism to initiate organizational learning. Practical implications – This paper emphasizes the role of change agents in the change process and how their understanding of the culture, change recipients, organizational climate and work environment could increase the success of transforming resistance into learning. Collaboration through social interaction, communication, participation and awareness creation are utilized as effective mechanisms to develop a learning environment. Originality/value – This research was carried out within an academic setting in a challenging context where not much is known about change initiatives and resistance at a university level.
DOI: 10.1108/QROM-06-2021-2170
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