Why do so many resist change?
“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird;
it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.
We are like eggs at present.
And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.
We must be hatched or go bad.”
Why are the majority of human beings so resistant to change?
Have students conduct research on the psychology of human behavior and motivation theory. Here are some readable, practical books:
Three levels of small-group discussion questions for students:
- Leading Change by John P. Kotter
- Too Perfect: When Being In Control Gets Out of Control by Jeannette Dewyze and Allan Mallinger
- Superhero Success by James Malinchak and Scott Alexander
- Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work: The 3 Simple Ideas That Will Instantaneously Transform Your Life by Ariel and Shya Kane
- Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard.
Flashlight: Come up with a list of ideas for creating positive change in student news organizations, the local community and the world. What are the roadblocks?
Spotlight: Think about a teacher or another person who said something that changed the way you think or act. What did that person say that struck you as important? Did you agree or disagree? In their popular book, Switch, the Heath brothers argue that emotional messages change behavior, not intellectual ones. Was that true in your case?
Searchlight: Company lifespans are shorter than ever in the digital age. Inability to keep up with change is a major factor. Kodak invented digital cameras but didn’t switch to them fast enough. Blockbuster kept expecting people to come to their stores as Netflix pioneered mail and web delivery of movies. Many of the 20th century functions of a newspaper are now pursued better elsewhere, such as stock quotes, movie listings, real estate offerings. Auctions happen on EBay; music sells through iTunes, and so forth. What do you think the most endangered businesses are today, and why?
Extra credit: Now apply all of what you’ve learned to the news industry’s digital transition. The Poynter Institute provides a list of university libraries with resources for journalists. Other notable institutions include The Internet Archive. Try searching for “journalism crisis” and “journalism education” articles. Can you find any at all dealing with resistance to change?