Influence Costs, Structural Inertia, and Organizational Change
This paper builds an economic model of the relationship between influence activity and resistance to change in organizations. I show that influence activity can create harmful barriers to change and that the influence costs of change are positively related to the firm’s prospects. The model rationalizes the widely held view that firms often must endure a survival-threatening crisis before meaningful change can be achieved. I show that employees’ choices of whether to engage in influence activity can depend on their beliefs as to whether the firm will choose to change its organizational form. If employees expect change, their best response is to try to affect the form of the change in their favor.