The role of communication in organisational change

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Authors: W. Elving

Publication Year: 2005


Journal: Corporate Communications: An International Journal

Volume: 10

Issue: 2

Categories: Change Management, Crisis, Qualitative, Crisis, Qualitative, Organizational Change, Change Management, Crisis, Qualitative


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework for the study of communication during organisational change. Although there is an enduring interest in studying (internal) communication during organisational change, there is still little or no empirical research on the topic. Design/methodology/approach – In this conceptual paper a framework is presented on how to study communication during organisational change and how communication could prevent resistance to change. The framework leads to six propositions in which aspects of communication, such as information, feelings of belonging to a community, and feelings of uncertainty, have an influence on resistance to change, which will affect the effectiveness of the change effort. Findings – A distinction between the informative function of communication and communication as a means to create a community was made. In the suggested model communication has an effect not only on readiness for change, but also on uncertainty. Originality/value – This framework can be used by researchers and practitioners to study, guide, frame and model empirical research into this area in the future, and can be used to compare different change programs, within different organisations, to study the contribution of (internal) communication in the success or failure of the change.