Resistance to change; consulting interventions; change management; organizational dynamics; psychoanalytic and counter-transference;
Resistance to change during periods of organizational transition unwittingly can be met with counter-resistance from the change agent consultant. It is argued here that resistance goes hand in hand with change itself. However, this can be misunderstood: especially by the consultant. This article explores the underlying dynamics to resistance taking a psychoanalytic perspective using case examples.It argues that traditional strategies on their own change can fail to secure long-term sustainability as they have possibly missed the point. Instead, the agent (external consultant or internal project leader) has to ‘tune in’ and listen with emotional ears in order to understand the deeper meaning of resistance. It requires consultants to take up the ‘third position,’ allowing them to extend their consulting repertoire. It means reframing resistance, drawing upon their own feelings and ‘counter transference’ and using psychodynamically informed interventions. The implications of such an approach suggest that interventions would be different.Moreover, instead of the consultant being part of the problem they have a wider range of solutions to support longer-term change.