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Organizational Change: Creating Change Through Strategic Communication by Laurie K. Lewis

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Processes of Communication During Change

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said

Peter Drucker

Without credible communication, and a lot of it, employee hearts and minds are never captured

John P. Kotter, “Leading change”

We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge

John Naisbitt

Communication practices are tremendously important in implementation of change in organizations, partly because they can be very problematic. A study (Lewis, 2000a) conducted with an international sample of for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizational implementers found that implementers rated communication problems as some of the most severe. The data analyses revealed that problems related to poor communication of vision, poor follow-through, lack of top management support, and communication about implementation were among those that implementers failed to anticipate at the outset of the change. It appears that communication can be significantly troublesome to implementers and that the potential for problems is not always anticipated accurately.

In this chapter we will first make the distinction between formal and informal communication and then explore three key processes in communication during planned change in organizations – dissemination of information, soliciting input, and socialization – and discuss how both implementers as well as other stakeholders make strategic decisions about how to engage in each of these processes, as well as ...

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