Project Management Institute

Project leadership influences resistance to change

the case of the Canadian Public Service

This paper analyzes how leadership affects resistance to change in projects. Using Dulewicz and Higgs' (2005) leadership framework in the context of the Canadian Public Service, types of resistance and factors influencing them were listed, leading to the identification of competence areas for the project manager. Research exploring the differences between public and private sectors, as well as between project and nonproject changes is discussed. It was found that an engaging leadership style, developed through proper training, effectively reduced resistance to change. Other factors, such as the inclusion of affected people in the decisions, as well as a formal project management methodology, were instrumental in reducing resistance. In addition, the widely recognized concept of project success and the findings from Pinto, Thoms, Trailer, Palmer, and Govekar (1998) on critical success factors are considered in this paper. Finally, upper management support was identified to be a mandatory success factor.
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