Social Change – Why People Resist Social Change

Social Change – Why People Resist Social Change

Social change is any kind of change in the structure of society, it is the alteration of the already existing social norms and social structure. Social change refers to those non material aspects such as knowledge, ideas, languages and even behavioral patterns of individuals in society.

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Social change is also alteration from already existing social norms and structures which consequently lead to alteration in social creative or patterns which means that society has already existing social norms and structures which result in dramatic change due to example, when the military took over the mantle of leadership, that particular government changed the norms of Nigeria society.

Social change bring about a new format which will be established and people start to learn the system and with time they will get used to such changes. Social change may be positive or negative.

According to Owo social change refers to change in the social structure and relationships of a society.

Why People Resist Change

The most effective way to introduce change is to identify the reasons why people resist change. Individual irrespective of their position educational background or experience, tend to react negatively to plumping  into the unknown.

There are may reasons why people resist social change some of these reasons are:

Personal variables


Psychological reason

Internalized norm

Fear of insecurity

Cultural influences

Fear of unknown

Personal Variables:

These are variables that affect us due to our personality individual resist change because of differences in goals and values for eg. It can occur when government want to give electricity to a particular community but because some body has generator he will prefer them to give pipe borne water instead of electricity; so based on one’s frame of reference, one builds a personal resistance or attitude conducive to the accommodation of change.

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This is the tendency to shift one’s views or beliefs into compliance with the view or belief of others.

This is a situation where some people have chosen without reason.

People tend to emulate others (do what others do) in conformity and they imbibe the culture of comformity that they can be accepted. People that comform are afraid of losing control of what they have. It is also a defense mechanism against inferiority complex that is in order to avoid this inferiority complex people tend to follow others not minding the negative of positive aspect of the out come.

Psychological Reason

Some people have innate fear of failure. They resist change because they don’t what to fail or be laughed at. They may not have experienced real failure but somehow, they have the feeling that it is around the corner. For example the government may chose somebody they know to handle a particular project for a particular society but because of fear of self incompetence he may resist that project which would have brought a change to that particular society.

Internalized Norm

A norm is a standard or pattern of societal behavior that is typical of a group.

When a norm is internalized, shows in the behavior characteristic disposition of that group. Norm of a group is learnt through socialization process. In this case you are told what is expected of you, not to accept certain changes and you imbibe such information even if it such that will bring a future development. For example in ancient days females were told not to go to school that educated females ends up in harloting. They accepted this and only males were trained in the olden days.

Fear of Insecurity

Every social change has multipliers effect which means that every social change gives rise to another social change. Some people are afraid of changes because they have multipliers effect, for example before the evention of electricity people resisted it initially due to fear of electrocution. Again because shines and makes the night seem likes the day that it will bring about insecurity, that is no more hidden place for village worriors.

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Cultural Influence

This when people are guided with their culture and any thing outside the culture is not accepted culture resist social change especially when it touches on the custom and tradition which the group guides jealously having been handed down from their forefathers. For example here in Nigeria people will not accept to cremate the corpses of their dead relative because on culture does not allow such practice which might be normal in India. Adage which says that one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Fear of the Unknown

Fear of unknown is one of the resistance of change. People are generally reluctant to try any new things for fear that it might disappoint them and this is as a result of the adverse effect it will have on them or they do not know how it work or how it will affect them. For example persite who do not know how a sm operate fears that it might be harmful to them. Infact they call it spirit since one can hear voices from a far without security the person.

Society Develop From Simple To More Complex Form.

The statement true because societal changes follow the same pattern which include the following: cyclical changes one directional change evolutionary social change revolutionary social change

Here evolutionary social change will be discussed because it the one that stressed more on how society develop from simple to more on how society develop from simple to more complex form.

Evolutionary Social Change

This approach views society as developing from the simple to the more complex form. Evolutionary change is believed to be gradual and orderly may a time. It is planned for example, through education which can then lead to changes like better health care,

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Improved standard of living Igbo and Anuglom (2002) were of the view that evolutionary approached see social change as a cumulative process” every society is believed to pass through several stages that are orderly and gradual with each succeeding stage qualitatively higher than the one proceeding it.

Again electricity started at a point in one urban area but now it is every where both in rural areas.


Even a small child started learning how to talk and walk from the mother will gradually learn to speak many languages and can walk round may place as he grows up. It is also a pattern of simple to complex social change.


Psychology of social change Benjamin E Nwani (2005)

Personal ideas


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