How lecturers neutralize resistance to the implementation of learning management systems in higher education

  • Lucy Charity SakalaEmail author
  • Wallace Chigona


The aim of the study was to investigate neutralisation techniques used by lecturers to justify their resistance behaviours during the implementation of learning management systems (LMS) in higher educational institutions (HEIs). Moreover, we explored why lecturers employed such neutralisation techniques to justify their resistance behaviours. A number of studies identified resistance as a barrier to successful implementation of technology in HEIs. However, there is a dearth of literature on the choice of neutralisation techniques employed by lecturers to justify such resistance behaviours. Understanding the logic behind the choice of neutralisation techniques could ensure effective management strategies towards user resistance, which could further assist to improve technology uptake in HEIs. The study draws from Bourdieu’s theory of practice (ToP) as a lens to investigate the logic behind the use of certain neutralisation techniques to justify user resistance. The research used cross-sectional data from semi-structured interviews and participant observations of a single in-depth case setting. The most common neutralisation technique used by lecturers was condemn the condemners followed by denial of responsibility, denial of injury, and appeal to higher loyalties. Findings suggest that the habitus and capital of lecturers significantly influence the choice of techniques to justify resistance. Lecturers tended to neutralise before they resisted, such that they prepared themselves to justify any deviance well in advance in case they got caught. Integration of ToP and Neutralisation theory enriches theorisation of user resistance, enabling development of mechanisms that could effectively manage lecturer resistance behaviours to improve uptake of LMS in HEIs.


Neutralisation techniques Resistance Lecturers LMS implementation Moodle Higher education 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceBindura University ScienceBinduraZimbabwe

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