5 ways people react to change

February 17, 2011

Do you ever wonder why there is such resistance to change? It comes down to two things: (1) how people are made and (2) how they are influenced by others in regard to change.

In general, people are change-resistant rather than change-friendly.

In his ground breaking book Diffusion of Innovations, Everett M. Rogers studied the reasons for either adoption to a new innovation (change) or resistance to it.

For instance, in an effort to cut down on diseases brought on by unclean drinking water in Peru and Egypt, he studied public-health efforts to convince villagers that they ought to either boil their water or use well water.

While there were some who embraced the new ideas, the majority did not, even though they continued to become sick at a higher rate than those who did.

Through this study, and the resulting research, Rogers concluded that there are 5 ways people react to change.

5 ways people react to change:

1. 2.5 percent of people dream up new ways of doing things.  They are the innovators.

2. 13.5 percent of people quickly respond to what they see as a good idea and adopt it.  They are the early adopters.

3. 34 percent of people are more deliberate in thinking through the innovation but, after consideration, will adapt it.  They are the early majority.

4. 34 percent of people are skeptical of innovation but eventually respond after seeing the benefits.  they are the late majority.

5. 16 percent of people will probably never respond to change.  They are the laggards.

I find this to be very fascinating because I have seen this in many situations.  It helps me better understand why even the best ideas are often met with caution, skepticism or negativity.

How do you react to change?  What type of person are you?

***** This post was heavily influenced by T.J. Addinton’s book “High Impact Church Boards

Kevin Martineau

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I am the Pastor at Port Hardy Baptist Church on Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I am married to my best friend and I have three beautiful daughters.

12 responses to 5 ways people react to change

  1. Great thoughts on change. My ability to change depends on the change that is needed. But for the most part I am able to change quickly.

    Dan

  2. I love to dream and I love ideas. I have to consistently remind myself that not everyone responds to change in the same way and help to guide through it. It also means that sometimes I can’t implement things as quickly as I’d like or maybe not at all (at least for now). Thankful for grace for learning and growing! Good stuff, Kevin. Thanks.

  3. The way people respond to change has always fascinated me. In one of my classes at seminary our professor taught about how people respond to changing paradigms. It has been interesting to see how well this has held true.It is a constant reminder to myself that people react differently to change. That I need to be very aware of what Jesus would want me to be doing and the possible reactions I can expect.

  4. hahahhahaha, I guess I am one of 2 phases. I either respond quickly to reap the benefits I see or I am skeptical and resist for ages, but eventually cave. All though, I still have no Facebook profile lol. The third thing I notice about change is that God generally has to kick my arse to bring about good solid change. Recently He has rocked our boat and we are SO much better off for it. Long time coming hard change. I have always liked that song: Refiner’s fire, my hearts one desire, is to be holy, set apart for you Lord, I choose to be holy, set apart for you my master, ready to do your will.
    It’s like a mantra to remind me to CHOOSE change.

  5. Very interesting blog post Kevin!! Really something I had never taken much time to think about before, but it certainly can be useful when you’re prospecting and trying to influence people towards your brand and/or your product!!

    I personally think I am in the #2 category of people who react quickly to change and adapt it! I actually really love change much to the chagrin of my daughters who are not as easily adaptable! :)

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