Systematic literature review of interpretative positions and potential sources of resistance to change in organizations

Favián González, Manuela Pardo del Val, Ana Redondo Cano


Purpose: This article addresses the main concerns of existing literature about resistance to change (RC) in organizations, namely the limited interpretative position regarding RC focusing mainly on negative aspects and excluding potential benefits, and the poor consensus or even understanding of RC sources in organizations.

Design/methodology/approach: To approach our goal, a systematic literature review will be carried out. The initial sample, obtained using reproducible search algorithms on Scopus and Web of Science, comprises 65 papers. After applying five inclusion/exclusion criteria supported by previous systematic reviews, the final sample consists of 30 papers.

Findings: This article demonstrates the prevalence of a negative position toward RC and reveals efforts to harness the potential benefits of RC. In addition, from 126 specific RC sources extracted from the analyzed papers, it discovers and discusses 22 sub-typologies of RC sources, which are grouped into five typologies.

Practical implications: The paper enables the future identification of, evaluation of, and intervention in 22 potential RC sources in organizations distinguished into five typologies. The taxonomy also enables researchers to organize and summarize study topics/subtopics regarding RC in the organizational arena.

Social implications: This paper draws attention to the need to recognize the meaning and implications of three alternative positions relating to RC in organizations (positive, negative, and neutral).

Originality/value: The paper provides a comprehensive taxonomy of RC sources beyond the traditional classification of individual/organizational factors.


resistance to change, systematic literature review, taxonomy, sources of resistance to change, interpretative positions

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2024

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience