Psychological resistance to innovation

Thursday 13 June 2024, 2:30 pm
PhD candidate
I.A.M. Verpaalen MSc.
prof. dr. R.W. Holland
dr. M.L.M. van Hooff, dr. S.M. Ritter

To deal with our rapidly changing world, successful implementation of innovations is crucial. For these innovations to truly make an impact, they must be embraced and utilized by individuals. Achieving this is not easy, as people are generally hesitant to accept new things. This research explored why people hesitate to adopt innovations and how to encourage their acceptance. The studies highlight two main reasons for resistance: fear of the unknown (anxiety) and feeling pressured to change (reactance). Both can hinder the spread of new inventions.
Through experiments and longitudinal surveys, the research offers valuable insights:vResistance slows down the adoption of innovations, but it doesn't completely stop it. Anxiety lessens over time, but resistance can be long-lasting. The effect of social norms on innovation adoption is nuanced. Social pressure to adopt something new can backfire. Focusing on the benefits of an innovation can overcome resistance.
Resistance is common, not limited to a small group of opponents. The findings complement the pre-existing knowledge on innovation resistance. By addressing anxieties, offering control, and highlighting opportunities, innovation managers may make innovations more accepted. This research encourages further exploration of these themes to help people embrace new ideas and ensure a smoother implementation process.

Iris Verpaalen was born on August 21, 1993, in Breda, the Netherlands. In 2016, she obtained her BA Psychology (summa cum laude) and in 2018, she graduated from the two-year Research Master Behavioural Science (cum laude), both at Radboud University in Nijmegen. 
Between 2018 and 2023, Iris completed her PhD project. She was awarded the Christine Mohrmann grant (2021), which allowed her to visit the Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, Austria, and set up a joint research project. In addition to her research, Iris obtained her university teaching qualification (2023).vBesides her academic career, Iris has committed herself to the implementation of behavioural science in society. From 2020 to 2023, she worked at research and consultancy firm Dijksterhuis & van Baaren as change consultant in the domain of sustainable employability, sustainability, and organizational change. Current job: strategic learning and development advisor at Dicoon.