Change Management Neuroscience 

Neuroscience offers a key insight into why people react negatively to organizational changes by studying how people deal with the transition. Change management follows the structured approach of implementing changes and transforming the organization from existing to the desired state. Today, we’ll discuss change management neuroscience; benefits; roles, and elements of neuroscience in change management.

Neuroscience focuses on the nervous system and comprehends how humans respond to changes and situations; and process information while making decisions.

Benefits of Change Management Neuroscience

  • Comprehending various processes of the human brain while dealing with change
  • Change is difficult for the human brain to process and that’s why it resists and reacts
  • Recognizes the key areas of the brain relevant to change; prefrontal cortex in decision-making and amygdala in fear
  • Developing targeted change management strategy relevant and coordinating with the brain
  • Comprehending the reasons for resistance of employees based on neuroscience
  • Providing necessary support for change adoption
  • Leading towards sustainable changes to amplify the company’s performance

Role of Change Management Neuroscience 

Let’s discuss the key roles of various elements of change management neuroscience or neuroscience in change management; they’re as follows;

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the process of recognizing, comprehending, and managing the emotions of yourself and others. It is a highly necessary skill for change leaders because it allows them to communicate effectively by establishing trust and decreasing the employee resistance level.

However, change is a difficult process for some employees; empathizing with them and offering them needed support. Emotional intelligence allows them to build an environment of trust and confidence; if they have their trust, then it amplifies the adoption rate. They’re more willing to engage in the change process.

Resistance to Change & Automated Behavior

Automated behaviors comprise repetitive tasks and activities that we perform in our daily routine lives; they become habits because our minds become accustomed to them. There is a close connection between employees’ resistance to change and their automated behaviors or habits.

However, when the change leaders ask them to change their habits, then they resist the changes. It happens because the employees develop a strong neural connection with the existing setting and system; it gives comfort and familiarity. It doesn’t matter whether those habits and behaviors are healthy or unproductive.

In order to deal with the change resistance of habits, change leaders should comprehend the associated rewards and neural connections associated with habits. You can deal with it by educating and supporting employees to comprehend the benefits of the new habits and flaws of the old habits. You should offer incentives and rewards to encourage them to adopt the new behaviors.

Defensive Mechanism to Change

The human brain has a defensive mechanism of following a predefined set of processes to avoid negative outcomes. The defensive mechanism of the brain resists the changes and impacts the capability of a person to accept and adopt changes. For instance, denial is a great example of a defensive mechanism of our brain. While dealing with uncomfortable changes, they deny the changes to decrease the impact of the change.

Denial is an unconscious process and they aren’t aware of it that they deny the changes unconsciously. Change leaders have to face the biggest challenge of communicating the denial; because jeopardizes their capability to accept and adopt the changes.

Rationalism is also a part of the defense mechanism; it allows them to deal with the difficult emotions that come with the change. In order to deal with the employee’s resistance, the change leaders should comprehend the root cause of the change process.

Fear of Change

Fear is a natural human instinctive response to the changes. While dealing with changes, employees fear the uncertainty and fear of the unknown; their job security, role, responsibilities, or their well-being. The fear element results in the form of resistance. Therefore, it is significant that the change managers should address their concerns and emotions relevant to the change initiative. They could do so by having open and transparent communication; offering them support for the change project.

Elements of Neuroscience in Change Management 

Some of the main elements of neuroscience in change management; they’re as follows;


Neuroplasticity outlines the capability of the human brain to identify and adopt new learning experiences. It has the capability to recognize and adapt to the changes by recognizing their significance and relevance to the change. Change leaders should comprehend the power of neuroplasticity, it helps them to develop better and more effective strategies.

The change managers could rewire the brain and develop a positive attitude towards the change project by offering opportunities for learning. It means they should conduct training programs to improve the skills and expertise of employees; it allows them to develop positive attitudes of employees towards changes.

Prefrontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that deals with the cognitive and difficult processes; planning, problem-solving, and decision-making. The prefrontal cortex plays a key role in managing, processing, and analyzing the information relevant to the change.

While dealing with changes, the prefrontal cortex analyzes the pros and cons of the change process and decides whether to accept or resist the changes. Multiple factors impact the cognitive process of the prefrontal cortex and they’re as follows;

  • Emotional responses
  • Previous experiences
  • Personal biases

Highlighting the benefits of the change program, they could tap into their rational decision-making process and impact their capability of adopting the changes.


The amygdala is an area of the brain that focuses on managing and processing emotions relevant to anxiety and fear. While dealing with changes, the amygdala triggers the “fight or flight” response by causing feelings of fear, resistance, stress, and anxiety. It makes individual employees perceive and consider change as a threat, and they would resist it.

Conclusion: Neuroscience in Change Management |Neuroscience in Organizational Change 

After an in-depth study of change management neuroscience; we have realized that neuroscience plays a key role in implementing organizational changes. If you are learning about neuroscience in change management; then you should keep in mind the abovementioned elements, benefits, and roles.

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