Organizational Inertia as a Barrier to Change: The Application of Grounded Theory to Understand Organizational Inertia

Document Type : Research Article


1 Associate Professor, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran

2 PhD Student of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Management and Accounting , Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran

3 MSc. in Industrial Management, Faculty of Management, Arak Branch, Islamic Azad University, Arak, Iran


Purpose: As an open system, the organization must always be ready for change, but there are usually obstacles to change. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify and overcome the process of inertia formation. Methodology: The present study is based on an interpretive philosophy, fundamental orientation, qualitative method, and the grounded theory strategy. The statistical population of the study is comprised of managers and employees of small and medium-sized companies active in the office and network equipment industry in Tehran, with 22 participants selected out of these. Results: The research showed that conflicting commitments are the cause of inertia formation. It is characterized by inactivity and channelized thinking that directly influence the formation of strategies. The question of the quality of communication can influence the success or failure of strategies as an intervening factor. If strategies succeed, the inertia of the organization will turn into flexibility. Conclusion: The individuals’ commitment and attachment to phenomena other than change is the reason for resistance to change. Therefore, instead of trying to cope with change, they try to oppose it, and so, attempts to change are thwarted. Such a behavior is a form of personal immunity and security against change, and suchlike conflicting commitments play a central role in the formation of inertia.


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