Memo: Model Leadership Behavior
Your efforts at finalizing the Change Management toolkit are appreciated by the vice president (VP) and management team of the U.S. branch of the Singaporean software solutions provider. The earlier submissions you shared, including a change readiness report presentation on employee engagement (attached for reference) and a report on change management models (attached for reference), have convinced leadership about your expertise at planning the required organizational change.
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You also shared the change management plan (attached for reference) last week, which identifies stakeholders of significance, outlines strategic goals, and recommends steps and strategies to implement the organizational changes required. While the VP applauded the details of the plan, members of the leadership team have been sending you questions about their role in change implementation.
As an experienced HR consultant, you decide it’s best to collate your responses to their queries. You decide to send a memo with some model leadership behaviors expected during change implementation. You will also emphasize that the leadership team needs to own the change management plan and the role of HR is that of a facilitator rather than a leader of change.
Write a memo to the company leadership. In your memo, emphasize the need for model leadership behavior, especially during crisis or times of significant change. Also, emphasize that the role of HR is that of a change facilitator, as opposed to a change leader. Please use the attached chapter resources for at least one citation.
Specifically, you must address the following criteria:
Describe the need for model leadership behavior during times of organizational change.
- What are model leadership behaviors that should be encouraged across the organization at any time?
- How should leaders inspire the workforce to cultivate an environment that encourages knowledge sharing?
Explain how leaders should coach and mentor employees as the workforce transitions through change.
- How is a change leader different from a stakeholder of change?
- How can change leaders coach and mentor the workforce to deal with change?
Describe the role of HR as a facilitator of change.
- How correct is it to expect HR to lead rather than facilitate change?
- How exactly is a change facilitator different from a change leader?
Submit a 2- to 3-page Word document using the attached template double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Include references cited in APA format.
Memo: Model Leadership Behavior Overview Your efforts at finalizing the Change Management toolkit are appreciated by the vice president (VP) and management team of the U.S. branch of the Singaporean s
Company Name Memo To: Recipient Name From: Your Name cc: Name Date: Date Re: Subject Key takeaways [Summarize the key points you want executives to pay attention to.] Leadership behaviors for change initiatives [Describe the need for model leadership behavior during times of organizational change.] Best practices for organizational leadership [What are model leadership behaviors that should be encouraged across the organization at any time?] Inspiring knowledge sharing to drive change [How should leaders inspire the workforce to cultivate an environment that encourages knowledge sharing?] Coaching and mentoring for meaningful and lasting change [Explain how leaders should coach and mentor employees as the workforce transitions through change.] Change leader versus stakeholder of change [How is a change leader different from a stakeholder of change?] Best practices for coaching and mentoring in change initiatives [How can change leaders coach and mentor the workforce to deal with change?] The role of HR as change facilitator [Describe the role of HR as a facilitator of change.] Change facilitator versus change leader [How exactly is a change facilitator different from a change leader?] HR as change facilitator [How correct is it to expect HR to lead rather than facilitate change?] Taking action [Conclude by summarizing key points and leaving the audience with a challenge. Like the closing arguments in a legal case: This is what we learned, why it’s important to you, and what we need to do about it.] References There are no sources in the current document.
Memo: Model Leadership Behavior Overview Your efforts at finalizing the Change Management toolkit are appreciated by the vice president (VP) and management team of the U.S. branch of the Singaporean s
Running head: Change Plan 0 6-1 Milestone Two: Change Management Plan Jacqueline Campbell MBA687 SNHU Professor Brent Duncan 6-1 Milestone Two: Change Management Plan Stakeholders Stakeholder 1: Singapore Headquarters Senior Manager Stakeholder role This stakeholder’s critical contribution to the transformation process at the U.S. branch is made as a senior manager in the Singapore headquarters. In addition to monitoring compliance with the change management strategy, they manage the organization’s overarching strategic goals. Stakeholder impact The senior manager of the Singapore headquarters can serve as a liaison between the main office and the United States branch to voice the organization’s viewpoints. They may impact support, acceptance, and buy-in for transformation among departments by formally endorsing and promoting the change efforts. To ensure the successful execution of the change management strategy, they will play a crucial role in explaining the significance of the transformation and its advantages to the United States branch staff members. Stakeholder 2: U.S. Branch Team Leader Stakeholder role The United States Branch group leader is a crucial member of the branch’s executive team. They oversee and manage the team’s daily operations, encourage teamwork, and ensure the change management strategy is successfully implemented. Stakeholder impact The United States Branch group leader may encourage and guide their teammates through the transformation process by taking on the roles of a counselor and a journalist. They can increase the chances of success by acting as a representative for the change efforts and addressing any worries or opposition within the team. Additionally, they will help the change management strategy work better overall by encouraging a culture of cooperation and open communication. TABLE 1: Stakeholder analysis Stakeholder Role Impact Singapore Headquarters Senior Manager Provides guidance and support for the change process at the U.S. branch Acts as an opinion leader and connector, influencing buy-in and acceptance. U.S. Branch Team Leader Manages team operations, and guides change implementation. Acts as a counselor and journalist, addresses resistance, and fosters collaboration. Strategic alignment Organizational strategy The strategic objectives in the organization’s Vision, Mission, and Strategic Goals statement center on utilizing people, technology, and resources to foster innovation, generate value, and deliver world-class customer service. These objectives strongly emphasize marketing initiatives, growth, talent, and learning. Branch operations The Leaders’ Self-Evaluations and United States Branch Overview offer information on the United States branch’s present situation. The organizational plan should align with the strategic objectives of the U.S. branch, which should also consider the branch’s particular features and difficulties. Aligning branch operations with organizational strategy The U.S. branch’s strategic objectives should align with the organization’s overall strategic objectives and the change management strategy. This coordination ensures that the U.S. branch’s transformation activities support the organization’s overarching vision and goal. Trends For effective change management, it is essential to investigate new trends that may impact U.S. branch personnel. It will be easier to adjust the change efforts and ensure their significance and success if we are aware of the evolving requirements and expectations of the workforce. Improvements to organizational systems Areas of change The departure interviews identified several areas for change, such as a lack of training, poor management relations, a shortage of job prospects, and irregular work practices. These issues must be resolved to promote a healthy work atmosphere and increase staff engagement. Impact of change By boosting management connections, upgrading training programs, expanding career progression possibilities, and developing standardized procedures and processes, it can favorably influence worker conduct at the United States branch. Improved employee happiness, motivation, and output will result from these enhancements. Recommended enhancement strategies Encourage Open Communication: According to managers, team and location-wide communications must be transparent and open. They must offer all team members the chance to contribute and have their voices heard, and they ought to listen intently to workers’ ideas, input, and concerns. Periodic team meetings, online and in person, may promote cooperation and communication. Recognize and Reward Collaboration: Employees may be inspired to practice collaboration if their efforts and successes are recognized and rewarded. Various types of recognition are possible, including possibilities for job advancement, public acclaim, and rewards. This highlights the value of teamwork and motivates workers to work closely with their colleagues. Team collaboration issues Team collaboration issues include a lack of training, poor management relations, a shortage of job prospects, and irregular work practices. Causes of collaboration problems There are several reasons team members in different places do not collaborate. Physical distance is important because it causes communication problems such as time zone variations, linguistic difficulties, and insufficient face-to-face connection. Furthermore, poor communication routes might prevent cooperation and information exchange, leading to solitary work settings. Collaboration is made more difficult by cultural variations in communication, decision-making, and working methods (Anderson, 2019). Last, a lack of trust between workers and management can stifle free dialogue, information exchange, and collaborative problem-solving. Building teams People need to become better team players to boost team cooperation. This entails several steps, including developing a common goal for coordinating efforts, cultivating close connections that foster trust, promoting engagement in integrating different viewpoints, establishing efficient communication abilities through training, and fostering a collaborative environment that accepts mistakes and promotes innovation. Using these principles, teams may become more cohesive and collaborative environments where individuals can play to their strengths and work toward shared objectives. Building Trust in leadership Enhancing team cooperation requires developing leadership trust. To accomplish this, leaders should embrace important traits like responsibility, empathy, openness, delegating responsibility, and candid communication. Transparency entails publicly disclosing decision-making procedures, objectives, and plans while keeping the team up to speed on business developments. Bearing yourself and others accountable for deeds and commitments ensures dependability and completion. Empathy entails being aware of and encouraging team members’ worries, struggles, and goals (Hofmeyer & Ruth, 2021). By giving team members duties and responsibilities, delegation gives team members more influence. Transparency, feedback, and chances for team members to offer their thoughts and perspectives are all fostered via open communication. Together, these actions foster a climate of cooperation and trust. Change management model The following actions can be made to implement Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model at the American branch (Tang, 2019). Applying the change model to the US branch Increase the Feeling of Urgency: Explain the necessity of transformation and its justifications in plain language. Describe the obstacles and chances the American branch is encountering and how the modification will take care of them. Use facts, figures, and examples from your own experience to inspire a feeling of urgency among your staff. Create a Strong Coalition: Determine the key U.S. branch leaders who favor the reform proposal. Create an alliance representing the various organizational levels and functions. This alliance will spearhead the change, offer direction, and serve as change advocates. Create a Vision and a Strategy: Engage with the partnership to create a convincing plan for the future of the United States branch and a plan of action to get there. Ensure the company’s overarching aims and values align with the vision. Communicate the Vision: Create a thorough communication strategy to ensure that the mission and approach are successfully communicated to every employee of the United States branch. Utilize a variety of platforms, including town hall meetings, email newsletters, electronic mail, and the intranet, to make sure that the change program is widely known and understood. Empower Action: Eliminate any impediments or roadblocks that can make it difficult for staff members to accept the change. Give staff members the tools, training, and support they need to engage in the transformation process actively. Generate Short-Term Wins: Decide on fast successes which could be accomplished at the beginning of the transformation process. These victories should show the effectiveness of the transformation program and inspire people to feel successful and advanced. Consolidate Gains and Produce More Change: Build on the early accomplishments and advance the transformation. Address any potential opposition or obstacles and modify the change plan as necessary. Continued assistance and resources are needed to keep the shift moving forward. Anchor the Change in Culture: Make sure the adjustment is ingrained in the American branch’s culture. Adapt the change to the company’s systems, norms, and values. To strengthen the desired actions and guarantee long-term sustainability, incorporate the modification into the management of performance procedures, educational initiatives, and other human resources (HR) operations. Change steps Mitigating resistance Effective Communication: Make the change known straightforwardly, honestly, and consistently. As the transformation process unfolds, address employee concerns and give frequent updates to keep them informed and involved. Stakeholder Involvement: Engage important stakeholders, particularly the workforce, in the preparation and decision-making procedures for the transformation. Ask for their opinions, address any issues they may have, and provide them with chances to participate in the change effort. Addressing Fear and Uncertainty: Understanding and addressing the worries and concerns staff members might encounter due to the change. To aid staff members in adjusting to the change, offer them assurance, support, and resources. Dealing with contingencies Anticipate and prepare for potential problems in any change management process. Following are some tactics for handling planned and unforeseen adjustments and contingencies: Risk evaluation and management: Conduct a thorough risk assessment to find possible problems and barriers that could appear throughout the transformation process (Paltrinieri, Louise , & Genserik, 2019). Create backup plans to deal with unanticipated occurrences and reduce risks. Flexibility and Adaptability: Make the change management strategy flexible to allow for unanticipated changes or modifications. Keep an open mind to suggestions, and change the strategy as necessary to account for new problems. Milestones The following benchmarks should be reached to guarantee the accomplishment of the modification implementation: Finishing the Change Readiness Assessment: Determine if the American branch is prepared for change by assessing its culture, communication methods, and leadership backing. Development of Change Vision and Strategy: Assuring alignment with the company’s overarching objectives, defining a clear vision and plan for the change program in the U.S. branch. Communication of the Change: To ensure that all workers at the United States branch are aware of and comprehend the change, it is important to explain its purpose and approach effectively. Metrics The following measures can be used to assess the change management plan’s effectiveness: Employee Engagement: Use focus groups, questionnaires, or interviews to gauge satisfaction with work, enthusiasm, and commitment. To determine the effectiveness of the change program, track shifts in participation rates over time. Cooperation and communication: Evaluate the frequency and effectiveness of team member cooperation and communication across various locations. Keep track of advancements in coordination, collaboration, and information sharing. Conclusion The success of a company depends on improving teamwork and successfully managing transformation. Companies may enhance communication, eliminate silos, and use collective intelligence by implementing cross-functional team initiatives and encouraging a culture of cooperation. Using Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model, leaders must cultivate trust, communicate openly, and include staff members in the change process. These tactics aid in reducing resistance, dealing with unforeseen circumstances, and reaching milestones. Monitoring important indicators helps determine success and problem areas. Partnership and change management are prioritized because they boost productivity, creativity, and the achievement of strategic goals. The challenges include adopting these tactics, getting through opposition, and developing a flexible workplace that flourishes on change. References Anderson, R. J. (2019). Communication between healthcare professionals and relatives of patients approaching the end-of-life: A systematic review of qualitative evidence. Palliative medicine. Hofmeyer, A., & Ruth, T. (2021). Strategies and resources for nurse leaders to use to lead with empathy and prudence so they understand and address sources of anxiety among nurses practicing in the era of COVID‐19. Journal of clinical nursing. Paltrinieri, N., Louise , C., & Genserik, R. (2019). Learning about risk: Machine learning for risk assessment. Safety science. Tang, K. N. (2019). Change Management. Leadership and change management.
Memo: Model Leadership Behavior Overview Your efforts at finalizing the Change Management toolkit are appreciated by the vice president (VP) and management team of the U.S. branch of the Singaporean s
Running head: Change Model Report 0 Change Model Recommendations for USA Branch Jacqueline Campbell Southern New Hampshire University MBA687: Dr. Duncan May 21, 2023 Change Model Recommendations for USA Branch Change Management Models Lewin’s change management model Description Kurt Lewin, a social psychologist, created the three-step Lewin’s Change Management Model, which focuses on the change process. Three steps make up the model: unfreezing, altering, and refreezing (Burnes, 2020). People prepare for change at the unfreezing stage by acknowledging their desire for it and getting rid of their old habits. The altering stage entails putting the intended change into action, and the phase of refreezing seeks to sustain the change by normalizing new behaviors. Benefits Simplicity: Lewin’s approach is simple and simple to comprehend, making it accessible to employees at all organizational levels. Focus on human behavior: The approach highlights the need to unfreeze current habits before introducing new ones and acknowledges the need of addressing the human element of change. Stabilization: By ensuring that the change is embedded in the company’s culture and procedures, the refreezing step lowers the risk of reversal. Limitations Linear approach: A linear progression is used in the model, which may not adequately represent the intricacies of organizational development. Lack of flexibility: The model may not be able to appropriately handle unforeseen difficulties or opposition since it does not take the dynamic nature of change into account. Limited emphasis on communication and stakeholder involvement: It does not specifically mention how important it is to involve stakeholders in the transformation process. Kotter’s change management model Description The eight stages of Kotter’s Change Management Model, created by renowned change specialist John Kotter, help businesses navigate transformation (Laig & Abocejo, 2021). The approach places a strong emphasis on the need to instill a sense of urgency, establish a steering coalition, formulate a vision and plan, communicate the change, empower people, produce short-term successes, consolidate gains, and enshrine the change in the culture of the company. Benefits Comprehensive approach: The Kotter model offers a thorough framework for handling change, including a variety of topics like leadership, empowerment of employees, and communication. Emphasis on leadership: The approach acknowledges the critical role of leadership in bringing about change and enabling it while encouraging stakeholder involvement. Focus on communication and engagement: The approach emphasizes the need for good communication throughout the transition process and promotes employee engagement and empowerment. Limitations Time-consuming: The eight-stage process might be drawn out and resource-intensive, requiring leaders and workers to put in consistent effort and dedication. Potential resistance: Although the approach stresses the need for communication, it could not completely account for opposition from stakeholders or workers. Lack of flexibility: Although Kotter’s model offers a systematic approach, it could not fully take into account sudden changes or particular organizational circumstances. ADKAR change management model Description The Prosci-created ADKAR transformation Management Model focuses on individual transformation and the actions that must be taken for people to successfully embrace and adapt to change. ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement (Hamdo, 2021). To encourage individual transformation, the approach highlights the significance of addressing each of these components. Benefits Individual-focused: The ADKAR model offers a framework for comprehending and attending to the needs of individuals throughout the change. It acknowledges that successful organizational change necessitates individual development. Clarity and simplicity: By segmenting the change process into distinct components, the model makes it simpler to spot and overcome resistance to change. Scalability: The approach may be used to manage both small- and large-scale changes, offering a versatile foundation for doing so. Limitations Limited organizational perspective: The ADKAR paradigm largely focuses on individual transformation and might not adequately tackle the larger organizational structure and dynamics. Potential oversight of systemic issues: While dealing with individual change is important, the model could fall short in capturing systemic problems that could affect the effectiveness of organizational change initiatives. Integration with other change management approaches: To deal with the corporate and cultural dimensions of change, the ADKAR model may need to be complemented with additional change management strategies. Recommendation Kotter’s Change Management Model is the best suitable model for the United States branch of the Singaporean IT solutions company, according to the examination of all three models for change management. Problem areas A failure to communicate key developments. Insufficient satisfaction with the business’s initiatives to value and promote diversity. Unclear guidelines on what is expected at work. Top management deadlines that are unrealistic. Insufficient comprehension of the mission, values, and strategy of the company. Justification for change management approach Kotter’s model addresses these problem areas in the following ways: Communication: To ensure that workers are aware and capable of actively participating in the change initiatives, the model places a strong emphasis on the necessity of consistent and straightforward communication during the process of change. Vision and values: Kotter’s approach emphasizes the need of creating a strategy and vision, successfully convey them, and coordinate worker conduct with the company’s principles to foster a feeling of shared purpose and direction. Clarity of expectations: Expectations are conveyed and understood clearly in a collaborative atmosphere because of the model’s emphasis on the formation of a steering coalition and empowering staff members. Realistic deadlines: According to Kotter’s approach, leaders should focus on achieving short-term successes because they may boost momentum and show that they are making progress, which will help them establish more feasible and realistic deadlines. Leadership engagement: The model acknowledges the crucial role of leadership in developing a supportive workplace environment, being honest and open with staff members, and giving them the freedom to recommend changes. Additionally, Kotter’s model provides a thorough method for dealing with several facets of change management, such as management, staff engagement, communication, and vision. Its emphasis on empowering staff, fostering a sense of urgency, and assembling a powerful coalition coincides with the U.S. branch’s desire to enhance communication and collaboration amongst staff members working in various locations. The United States branch may establish a collaborative environment, advance a shared comprehension of the organization’s mission and values, and skillfully manage the required changes to enhance productivity and staff engagement by putting Kotter’s model into practice. References Burnes, B. (2020). The origins of Lewin’s three-step model of change. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Hamdo, S. S. (2021). Change Management Models: A Comparative Review. . Unpublished PhD thesis. Istanbul: Istanbul Okan University. Laig, R. D., & Abocejo, F. T. (2021). Change management process in a mining company: Kotter’s 8-Step change model. Journal of Management, Economics, and Industrial Organization.
Memo: Model Leadership Behavior Overview Your efforts at finalizing the Change Management toolkit are appreciated by the vice president (VP) and management team of the U.S. branch of the Singaporean s
Book Title: Leading Organizational Change Authors: LAURIE LEWIS, JAMES M. KOUZES, BARRY Z. POSNER Southern New Hampshire University This edition first published 2019© 2019 Laurie Lewis Edition History1e 2011 Wiley2e 2019 Wiley All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by law. Advice on how to obtain permission to reuse material from this title is available at http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions. The right of Laurie Lewis to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with law. Registered Office(s)John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA Editorial Office350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148‐5020, USA For details of our global editorial offices, customer services, and more information about Wiley products visit us at www.wiley.com. 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Library of Congress Cataloging‐in‐Publication data applied for 9781119431244 [Paperback] Cover Design: WileyCover Image: ©Larry Washburn/Getty Images Chapter 1: The Role of Communication in Triggering Change Communication plays a critical role in fostering the fad of change in organizations. We hear stakeholders in and around organizations making arguments that change is inherently good and that stability is necessarily bad. The continual use of language of change in terms considered positive – improvement, continuous improvement, progressive, innovative, “pushing the envelope,” being “edgy” – is juxtaposed against language of stability in negative terms – stagnant, stale, old fashioned, “yesterday’s news,” “behind the times.” The rhetorical force of labeling in this way pushes an agenda that contributes to the faddishness that Zorn et al. point out. Pressure to change also derives from complex organizational environments that put many demands on organizations to adapt and innovate. For example, current shifts towards a “gig economy” in many parts of the world may demand significant organizational changes in the ways labor is managed. The “gig economy” involves a market of labor based on frequent, independent, short‐term contracts and freelance work rather than longer‐term traditional jobs. Examples of those making use of this increasingly prevalent form of labor are transportation services, delivery services, video producers, couriers, household task workers, among many others. Numerous “gig platforms” that match employers and “giggers” have sprouted up including Uber, Lyft, HopSkipDrive, Airbnb, Postmates, TaskRabbit, Sparehire, Freelancer, and HelloTech (https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/02/gig‐websites.html). For the organization that makes use of these “giggers” there are certainly many implications for how they plan for, maintain relationships with, evaluate, and reward individuals who perform work for them. Benefits of engaging with these sorts of workers include flexibility, the ability to hire/fire at will, reduced costs for benefits, lack of the need to negotiate and honor long‐term contracts, and reducing needs for office space. However, the erratic nature of these multiple relationships, and the lack of continuity and long‐term employee–employer relationships surely brings new human resource challenges. Oftentimes, the rationale that changing circumstances demand changing tactics, responses, and strategies makes it difficult for organizations to resist trying to do something new or at least appear they are doing something new. Change can be triggered by many factors even in the most calm of financial times. Triggers for change include: The need for organizations to stay in line with legal requirements (e.g. employment law, health and safety regulations, product regulation, environmental protection policies) Changing customer and/or client needs (e.g. changing demographics, fashions that spur desire for specific products and services) Heightened problems or needs of clients served Newly created and/or outdated technologies Changes in availability of financial resources (e.g. changes in investment capital) Funding agencies for nonprofits Administrative priorities for government agencies Alterations of available labor pool (e.g. aging workforce, technological capabilities of workforce, immigration) Trends in alternative labor arrangements Alteration of trade relationships or global economy Crisis in the industry, economy, government, or organization. In addition, some organizations self‐initiate change and innovation. Change initiated within organizations can stem from many sources including the personal innovation of employees (individuals developing new ideas for products, practices, relationships), serendipity (stumbling across something that works and then catches on in an organization), and through arguments espousing specific directions that stakeholders in and around organizations think should be adopted or resisted. As stakeholders assert their own preferences for what organizations do and how they operate, their interactions produce both evaluations of current practice and visions for future practice that incite change initiatives. Communication is key in triggering all change. In fact, we can easily argue that none of the other factors that trigger change are truly the direct cause for change until stakeholders recognize them, frame them in terms that suggest change is necessary, and convince resource‐holding decision‐makers to act on them by implementing change. That is, the necessity for change or the advantage of responding to changing circumstances is one that is created in the interaction among stakeholders. The process is subtler than we might assume at first glance. It is not as simple as noticing that the environment is demanding change or is presenting the opportunity for productive change. We actually need to piece together a construction of the environment that suggests this reality. Karl Weick (1979) suggests “managers [and others] construct, rearrange, single out, and demolish many objective features of their surroundings” (p. 164). He calls this process enactment. In this process, stakeholders “enact” or “construct” their environment through a process of social interaction and sensemaking. As we encounter our world we attempt to form coherent accounts of “what is going on.” We do that by selecting evidence that supports one theory over the other – like a detective might in solving a murder mystery. However, the process is far from perfectly rational or a lone act of individuals. We have biases about what we want to be the truth of the matter and we are influenced heavily by the enacted realities of those around us (Weick 1995). Through communication we share our theories of “what is going on” and we purposefully or incidentally influence the process of enactment of others. As Weick (1979, 1995) argues, we simply forget some facts, reconstruct some to better fit the theory of reality we prefer, and look for supportive evidence to bolster our preferred case. He suggests that sensemaking is as much about “authoring” as interpretation. In this way, communication plays a central role in surfacing or suppressing triggers for change. For example, a theory that the economy is in a downturn can be supported and refuted through different ways of looking at evidence, different ways of framing evidence, and constructing evidence through managing meanings that others attach to their observations. An alternate theory can reconstitute observations, history, and the narrative around these “facts” in ways that suggest not a downturn but a natural lull or a period of great opportunity. Perceptions that an organization is in a crisis; needs to be responsive to a particular stakeholder; is headed for greatness; exists in a time rich with opportunity; or any number of other characterizations are created through this process. As discussed more in Chapter 8, communication among stakeholders is at the heart of change processes in organizations because of this highly social process of making sense of what is going on and “spinning” it into narratives and theories of the world around us. Chapter 2: Processes of Communication During Change Formal Communication The importance of communication can be captured in both formal and informal contexts. Formal communication involves: Official announcements and updates about change Declarations and policy set down by organizational leaders Implementers’ instructions about the rate, timing, and details of change Approvals for methods of use of change and/or exceptions Sanctions for lack of use/poor use/inappropriate use of change Invitations for feedback or other input to be provided about change Requests for specific information, updates, and reports about change from stakeholders Formal responses of leaders to other stakeholders’ challenges, questions, and concerns. Informal Communication Informal communication may play an even larger role in determining outcomes of change. Informal communication during change includes spontaneous interactions of stakeholders with each other, with implementers, and with non‐stakeholders including: Asking and providing information and interpretations about what the change will mean for the organization or for particular groups Relaying opinions, views, and concerns about the change Confirming, contradicting, and speculating about the formal communication about change Expressing hopes, values, wishes, and intentions relevant to change Providing supportive communication to those who are negatively impacted by change or who struggle to cope with change Fostering support for or opposition to the change among peers or other stakeholders Ridiculing the change or those who embrace or resist the change Sharing stories about how change has impacted them/their work Providing positive or critical feedback to peers about their participation or lack of participation in change. These interactions may be no less strategic than the formal communication, but they are undertaken without the force of official authority or access to official channels, and sometimes in a manner that enables participants to deny ownership of what is shared (e.g. through off‐record encounters and anonymous channels). They may concern reactions to change, supportive communication, tactical discussions formed around either advancing or resisting the change efforts, or evaluating and sharing information about change. Stakeholders interact with implementers, leaders, decision‐makers, and with one another in informal day‐to‐day interactions about the substance of change, the process of change, and the implications and reasons for change. These interactions have the potential to shape attitudes, willing participation, efforts to oppose change, and ultimately, the outcomes of change. Importance of Communication Increasingly, scholarly and practitioner literatures have been focused on the communicative activities surrounding implementation of change. Scholars in change management, leadership, business strategy, communication, and other disciplines have explored the reactions stakeholders have to implementer communication choices (Bordia et al. 2004a; Lewis, Laster, and Kulkarni 2013); the strategic direction of implementers’ choices (Lewis 1999; Lewis and Russ 2012); and the interactions among stakeholders about change (Cherim 2006; Leonardi 2009; Whittle et al. 2010). The conclusions of practitioners, experts, and scholars alike seem to increasingly suggest that communication plays an essential role in the implementation of change. A cautionary note is needed here. We must be careful not to jump to the conclusion that “communication is everything” in change. In my experiences talking to people who are in the midst of organizational change, I often hear the complaint that communication was poor, absent, or misleading. This is often charged as the key problem in change. And indeed, it may account for a significant portion of failed change efforts. However, change in organizations requires the dedication and availability of many resources: Physical (e.g. tools, space, technology) Financial (e.g. budget for installation, training, and consultants) Emotional (e.g. patience to learn, ability to handle stress) Political (e.g. leaders who can set the tone, managers to cope with conflict) Rhetorical and discursive (e.g. ability to explain/respond/engage). Communicative processes and practices are a prominent part of change and often mediate these other issues. If a change lacks the necessary political will, it is sometimes not created through communication at the outset. The needs for physical space, equipment, and personnel may not be effectively interjected into decision‐making in preparation for change. Leadership may not be visible if high‐level decision‐makers are not willing to publicly state support for change. In all of these cases, communication might be blamed for poor outcomes. However, in all of these cases other issues – political, physical resources, planning, leadership – may be as much or more to blame. Scapegoating communication as the problem of change is one faulty outcome of overstating the role of communication in change. A related problem is assuming that if communication has entirely positive qualities in a change effort, none of the other problems will matter. Communication, even if exceptionally good as judged by all stakeholders, cannot necessarily overcome a lack of resources, commitment, financial resources, or competition of other processes and distractions, or a poorly designed, dysfunctional, or ill‐fitting change. With this cautionary note in mind, let us move on to consider key communication processes during implementation of change. Communication Processes Processes are sets of actions designed and directed toward some desired outcome. Communication processes involve interaction, discourse, and interpretation. Processes are sometimes created formally by decision‐makers in organizations. At other times processes are created in emergent interaction that may become normative (usual) practice over time. Discussions of communication processes in the context of change are often limited to the actions and plans designed by implementers to afford the smooth introduction of changes and increase the likelihood of desired results for implementers and the organizations that employ them. Here, we will consider communication processes in a broader sense as enacted by many different stakeholders for a variety of purposes that may or may not align with those of implementers. We will consider three key communication processes in the implementation of change: information dissemination; soliciting input; and socialization. Information Dissemination and Uncertainty Information dissemination is a communication process frequently used during organizational change in order to reduce uncertainty. Uncertainty reduction has typically been framed as a fundamental problem during times of change and turbulence in organizations. Uncertainty is usually defined as a lack of information or as confusion related to many available possible interpretations of events or objects (e.g. What is this? What does this mean?). Typically, this is viewed as a “problem” in that non‐implementers lack the necessary information to productively participate in change initiatives. Bordia et al. (2004a) propose that change involves: Strategic Uncertainty (How is this organization situated in the external environment? What is its future?) Structural Uncertainty (How will this organization operate? What will its culture be like?) Job‐related Uncertainty (How will my job, rewards, and status change?). In much of change scholarship, implementers are depicted as the possessors of information and their tasks as (i) appropriate dissemination of information about a change, (ii) discovery of inaccurate interpretations or misunderstandings of information they disseminate, and (iii) clarification of misconstrued information. There are a few problematic assumptions built into this approach to uncertainty reduction. First, by privileging the knowledge and information possessed by implementers and top‐level decision‐makers, we may devalue the knowledge and information possessed and created by other stakeholders. In the traditional frame, uncertainty is something only non‐implementers experience. Dissemination strategies that are designed around informing those outside of implementation planning groups and “correcting” their misunderstandings may certainly miss the importance of surfacing knowledge and information held and created by other stakeholders, even before implementers have made decisions about how to introduce change, and perhaps even before decision‐makers have made adoption decisions. Further, this limited understanding of information dissemination ignores the important circulation of and creation of information among other stakeholders. A second assumption of this approach is that uncertainty is a less preferable state that all stakeholders attempt to avoid through a rational process of increasing access to relevant information. Although a great deal of support can be found to bolster the problematic nature of uncertainty and the general tendency for individuals to avoid it (Bordia et al. 2004b), some argue that individuals sometimes use other coping methods to deal with uncertainty and that uncertainty is not always problematic (Brummans and Miller 2004). Following the theory of Problematic Integration, Babrow (2001) argues that people form two sorts of orientations to the world: Probabilistic (What is this thing like? How likely is this thing to happen?) Evaluative (Is this a good/bad thing?). These orientations and the associated questions they raise can give rise to uncertainties both about what we know and about what we can reliably know (i.e. whether information can be gained, trusted, and interpreted usefully). Uncertainty can arise not just from a lack of information but also from the overabundance of information that is difficult to interpret; disorganization of available information; or contradiction or paradox in available information. Babrow suggests that people may cope with uncertainty in other ways than merely increasing access to information. In fact, additional information can make uncertainty worse. Think of the last time you researched something on the Internet. You may have done a search on a key word or phrase to learn about a new technology, locate information to provide guidance on a purchase, or diagnose a medical concern. As you clicked through the likely very lengthy list of generated “hits” on the topic, the information may have become quite overwhelming. That feeling of being overwhelmed can come not only because information volume is high but also because it can be hard to determine which sources are more credible; how to resolve conflicting information; and how to establish a level of trust or know the level of expertise of information sources. A perfect evaluation of the information would include: Reading all available information Assigning some level of credibility to each source (which would involve additional searches of information on the sources) Creating and using some system to evaluate all the information provided by each source to maximize a rational sorting of the information and come to a conclusion. Few of us have that much time or can even know exactly when we’ve evaluated every source of information on any topic. Therefore, high levels of information can sometimes increase our uncertainty. Another way people cope with uncertainty, aside from increasing the amount of information they have, is to reevaluate the object and decide it is not important. That reevaluation makes uncertainty about the object less troublesome. In another strategy, the person may reframe the object as merely “the way things are” within a larger social context where ideological forces may determine the frames to use to interpret objects (e.g. layoffs are a fact of business; the CEO gets to make decisions about how work is done; changes come and go and so will this one). Sometimes, we may be able to tolerate “mysteries” as simply unexplainable objects that “everyone” understands as unexplainable. Also, some cultures may not be as dominated by probabilistic and/or evaluative orientations. For some cultures there may be what Babrow calls “habitual certainty” where members cling strongly to a clear and compelling understanding of the world and objects in it. Every event and object can be easily explained within that understanding and uncertainty is rare. In summary, uncertainty is not a problem for everyone in every situation of change and is not always resolved through accrual of additional information. Organizational communication scholars (McPhee and Zaug 2001; Weick 1995) have examined how uncertainty (too few available interpretations of events or objects) and equivocality (ambiguous meanings and too many available interpretations of events or objects) lead to social sensemaking processes in organizations. When people are overwhelmed by many possible interpretations of messages, objects, and events, they do not just need more information. They need values, priorities, and preferences that help clarify what matters (McPhee and Zaug 2001). They also use these values, priorities, and preferences to reframe problematic situations (Kuhn and Jackson 2009). Reduction of uncertainty and equivocality may arise from the four main processes of interpretation construction that Karl Weick (1979) lays out: arguing, expecting, committing, and manipulating. These are ways of resolving uncertainty and equivocality problems without necessarily obtaining new information. Kramer, Dougherty, and Pierce (2004) provide an example of this in their investigation of uncertainty in the context of an airline acquisition. They note that in previous research of mergers and acquisitions employees have generally been shown to seek information. However, they tend to feel the need for more information no matter how much information they accrue. Kramer (1999) suggests that individuals may (i) use alternatives to seeking information, (ii) have competing motives that inhibit information seeking, and (iii) gain information that increases uncertainty. Kramer et al.’s study of airline pilots’ reactions to the acquisition found that levels of uncertainty changed over time in some cases and that the value of certain sources of information changed over time as well. The study also found that individuals differed in the degrees to which they sought out information. Seventy‐one percent of the sample actively sought out more information; while 29% of respondents were far less active in information seeking. These latter respondents managed uncertainty internally and discounted the available information that they could have sought out as likely to be inaccurate, misleading, or unavailable and therefore not worth the effort to gather. This study also found that a large percentage of the sample (79%) reported seeking information not just to reduce uncertainty but also to create a sense of comfort with peers. Even gossip and rumor communication was embraced for this function even though the participants believed it lacked any useful or reliable information. Interaction of this nature provided supportive communication and helped employees to feel bonded by a common experience. Another interesting conclusion of the Kramer et al. study concerns the ways in which high uncertainty impacted outcomes of job satisfaction, commitment, and stress. “Despite their uncertainty and declining attitudes, the pilots continued to like their work and to be committed to it …This appears to be a situation of high uncertainty in which employees adopt a professional or occupational orientation instead of an organizational [one]” (p. 97). Pilots in this study appear to have allowed priorities for professional affiliation to help them to reframe the importance of uncertainty about the employing organization. Rather than seek information to evaluate the new acquiring company, they reevaluated the organizational ownership as less important than their professional identities – I’m a pilot, and that matters more than the company that employs me. In this way, uncertainty about the acquisition became less troublesome and thus for some may have lessened the felt need to seek information to reduce uncertainty about it. Although there are many complex processes and relationships surrounding uncertainty reduction during organizational change, it is also likely true that a great deal of effort is put forth by implementers, and other stakeholders, to facilitate information flow and reduction of uncertainty. It is also likely that most stakeholders engage in some information‐seeking as a means to reduce uncertainty about change and that the attention to their informational needs is beneficial. A rare field experiment (Schweiger and DeNisi 1991) examined extensive realistic previews in the case of a merger. In the experimental plant, the plant manager met frequently with employees, listened to and answered questions, and provided information about rationale, expected layoffs, detailed implications of the merger, and background. The control plant received only notification that the merger would take place. The researchers found that providing early previews of the details of the merger and its process in the experimental plant significantly lowered uncertainty and increased job satisfaction, commitment, perceived trustworthiness, honesty, caring, and self‐reported performance. These effects endured over time as the merger progressed. Clearly, this study would suggest the potential power of high‐quality dissemination of information. Common Practice Advice for Information Dissemination Formal information dissemination is a critical process during change implementation because it has the potential to help implementers clarify and explain the purpose and process of change; to create a common level of understanding about a change effort; and to help dispel inaccurate rumors. Information dissemination has received a good deal of attention within the practitioner advice books and articles about change implementation. Books and articles like Collins’ (2001) From Good to Great, Davidson’s (2002) Complete Idiot’s Guide to Change Management; Kotter’s (2005) Leading change (2012) and Our Iceberg is Melting (2005), among many others have provided varied advice. A review (Lewis et al. 2006) of popular press books on change management from several years ago is still representative of the topics and advice in books today. Our review found that communication advice within practitioner advice books and scholarly articles is often similar in principle. For example, both sets of literature recommend avoiding withholding information or deceiving stakeholders; and promoting a generally open style of communication with frequent interaction. In general, disseminating information is viewed as a key activity of change communication. It involves the spreading of facts, clarifications, notices, details, rationale, and the like for the purpose of increasing the knowledge about a change initiative. Advice books frequently advocate: Clarifying roles, tasks, responsibilities, and procedures Reminding stakeholders of the rationale and goals of change Widespread dissemination of information to multiple stakeholders Repetition of messages Communicating about change in everyday activities. For example, Kotter (1998) suggests that references to the change be raised in routine work discussions. Duck (2001) says, “It’s important to provide regular updates, even when there isn’t any ‘hard’ news to deliver” (p. 212). An organization that I worked with a number of years ago serves as a good example of these practices. Progress through Action, Communication and Teamwork (PACT) was a change program at a university (Lewis 2000b) aimed at identifying and proactively seeking solutions to problems affecting a number of university service departments (e.g. mail services, financial services, printing and reprographics). In order to keep the employees up to date on the latest accomplishments and activities of PACT, the lead implementer created a newsletter called the PACT FLASH. The editor of the FLASH attempted to use this channel not only to disseminate information about the various training, social, and other activities of PACT but also as a method to establish the legitimacy of PACT. PACT was established in response, for the most part, to a dire financial crisis that had resulted in job losses, pay and budget cuts, and staffing shortages. Although PACT was not really empowered to cope directly with any of these problems, the implementer wanted to create the sense that PACT was relevant in pushing for effective solutions to problems. In an attempt to build the legitimacy of PACT, the FLASH editor published a set of letters to the editor complaining about the university’s lack of responsiveness to the dire problems and the frustrations of staff. In an ironic twist, the Vice Chancellor wrote a response letter to be published in FLASH that made no mention of the role PACT played in aiding University Services weathering the fiscal storm. In this case, the major channel for dissemination of information worked more against promoting the change than it did for it. Other more typical approaches to information dissemination include what amount to marketing campaigns in which the implementers create an atmosphere where their key messages about the change are hard to miss and are emphasized through repetition and forcefulness as the new reality of the organization or unit. Glen H. Hiner, Chairman and CEO of Owens‐Corning, suggests that the key to changing companies is “consistent, persistent, and repetitive communications” (Richardson and Denton 1996, p. 203). He argues that a good indicator of how much to talk about a change is to do so until you cannot stand to do it again – then you are probably about half way there. Selecting Channels for Communicating Change Organizations sometimes create new channels to disseminate information but often they rely on routine channels for disseminating information. In a study (Lewis 1999) involving an international sample of implementation efforts in 24 US states and 11 countries (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the US), the two most commonly used channels reported for disseminating information about change were small informal discussions and general informational meetings. The use of wikis and other more advanced communication technologies in organizations today has no doubt changed this landscape (although we have little data on which to draw conclusions). Erik Timmerman (2003) proposes that a set of source, organizational, media, message/task, receiver, and strategic factors will influence the choices of media that implementers use to disseminate information. For example, Timmerman suggests that a preplanned, top‐down programmatic approach to implementation is likely to be associated with “official” media that emphasize one‐way communication. An adaptive approach that is more emergent and responsive to stakeholders as conditions and reactions are altered during the course of an implementation effort will see different media choices. Such an approach is more likely to involve use of both formal and informal media, as well as channels that are more interactive and that will accommodate feedback about the implementation effort. Timmerman also proposes that different kinds of media will be used at different phases of the change process as needs for information and feedback change. In some cases of large‐scale change, information dissemination may commence in stages. The Ingredients Inc. merger case (see Case Box 2.2) is a good example of this strategy. Both of the legacy organizations announced and managed initial communication about the merger internally and differently. Once the merger became a legal and practical reality, the information was coordinated more centrally. The communication campaign included the use of various channels and the timing of important announcements of key events. In another example, Delta Airlines’ major restructuring effort involved the establishment of a special 800 number to accept comments and questions and provide updates on the change; the use of the company newspaper; senior management open forums on job sites around the country; a system‐wide management conference; and a video that could be shared with all Delta personnel (Richardson and Denton 1996). Chapter 5 Uniformity, Fidelity, and Models of Implementation: In the last chapter we discussed levels of uniformity and fidelity. Uniformity has to do with how common the use of a change is across users and fidelity has to do with the degree to which use of the change is close to what was originally intended. As we think about how implementers do and should implement a change, their goals for uniformity and fidelity are relevant. So, if there is not a good match between the desired fidelity and/or uniformity, and the overall implementation strategy, that is likely to cause a problem. High–High Implementation. In this case, it is essential to gain high uniformity and high fidelity in the use of the change. It would be undesirable to take an adaptive approach because so little is left to the stakeholder groups to decide or develop. In Chapter 4, we discussed the introduction of a policy regarding sexual harassment in the workplace in this category. If the desire of the implementers was that all employees understood and followed the policy in identical ways, it could be important to use implementation strategies that followed a more rule‐bound/programmed approach. In cases where legal issues, mandates from outside agencies/authorities, or safety is at stake, this is a typical implementation approach. Low–Low Implementation. As noted earlier, where creativity and multiple and various applications of a change (e.g. new technology or tool) are goals, implementers are neither interested in fidelity nor uniformity. In the case where implementers desire experimentation and discovery in order to maximize use of a change program, it may be useful to consider an autonomous/adaptive approach to implementation. In these cases, the tasks of the implementer are more about promoting experimentation, stimulating risk‐taking, and rewarding innovation. This sort of implementation approach would likely focus on sharing what is learned and designed by various groups and encouraging divergent thinking and “out of the box” applications. Compliance with a specific and pre‐designed outcome is not part of this approach. High–Low Implementation. In a situation where implementers wished to create unique uses of a change within specific groups of stakeholders, the implementation strategies would need to focus on working individually with each different group and managing the understanding that different stakeholders would use the change differently. To prevent confusion or cross‐contamination (where different stakeholders copied one another’s use of the change), a very careful communication strategy would need to be employed to make it clear what the implementers’ intentions were. In some cases, organizations may start with this approach to introduction of change, and then once the “best practices” are identified, work to share them widely across the organization. Low–High Implementation. The case where implementers desired an organic and creative use of the change but one that is uniform across users, most likely would demand and autonomous/adaptive approach. Empowering stakeholders to experiment and determine best use of a new change program would place the control in the hands of the users. However, the organization’s implementers would be focused then on coordination so that ideas are widely shared and evaluated across the organization, so that there could ultimately be a uniform use. These overarching models of implementation strategy may be used to guide how implementers make communication choices as they introduce, monitor, and adjust change along its process of integration into an organization. We next examine specific dimensions of the communication strategy choices of implementers and other stakeholders during change. Implementers’ strategic communication is highly influenced by the strategic implementation model they adopt, whereas stakeholders are most influenced by their perceptions of the change context. In much of the literature on implementation of change in organizations, it is uncommon for scholars to address the strategic communication of stakeholders aside from implementers. Stakeholders such as employees are usually treated as receivers of implementers’ communication and as reactionary in their communication surrounding change efforts. However, it is clear that employees do have strategic intention regarding change and those intentions are reflected in their communication foci. “Foci” concern both the subject and manner of communication. Dissemination/Soliciting Input During change, strategic communicators disseminate information and solicit input. They mix these activities in different ways and with different motivations. Along the dissemination/soliciting dimension on Table 5.2, we can use the participatory styles from Chapter 2 as a general way to describe the communication. We expect that this style choice will be aligned with implementers’ general strategic approach to implementation (see Table 5.1). For example, in the Rule‐bound/Programmatic approach to implementation we should expect that implementers are most interested in presenting a pre‐formulated idea of what the change entails and why it is being introduced. They are likely most interested in communication that promotes compliance with implementers’ vision; limits discussion of alternatives; and focuses on instruction and correction, not reconsideration or adaptation. Implementers’ input solicitation will likely focus on discovering the level of accuracy of stakeholders’ interpretations of the change effort. Thus, this approach to implementation is likely to involve a more symbolic style of participation (either Bankrupt Participation or Ritualistic Participation). The communication style of the rollout of Gap Inc.’s cultural change (see Highlight Box 5.1) serves as a good example of this approach. In 2002 Gap managers rolled out a cultural transformation to encourage its 150 000 employees to work together across functions, borders, and brands. The campaign involved encouraging employees to share purpose, values, and behaviors that leaders hoped would dominate the culture and guide the company. The communication strategy involved multiple phases, beginning with indoctrination of 2 000 senior leaders who then passed along training and messages about the change to their employees. From the description provided in Communication World, this campaign provides a clear example of ritualistic participation in that stakeholders were informed about the change and extensively socialized into the new ways of thinking at Gap, but their input and participation were used as a means to inculcate the new cultural meanings and as a check on their learning and understanding – not as input that might alter the overall cultural change. Stakeholders’ strategic communication. Just like implementers, stakeholders will also vary in terms of the focus on dissemination and/or solicitation activities. The model predicts that their choices of strategic communication will be based on their perceptions of the change context. (We will return to this topic in the next chapter.) Initially, stakeholder groups will be receivers of change announcements. Then, they will be involved in clarification and sensemaking activity that involves asking questions and offering opinions to one another and to implementers. They may propose, especially to one another, alternative views of the change plan and purpose (reinterpreting it according to their best understandings or in terms of some version that suits political interests). This is the sense of “authoring” that we talked about in Chapter 1. Stakeholders may explore the change through seeking expert (as they define it) advice and information from non‐official channels/persons. In organizational systems where participation is invited and/or channels for upward feedback are open, they may also participate in providing their own expertise, insights, and suggestions. And, as we discussed in Chapter 2, they will be party to the production of knowledge through participation in networks surrounding stakeholders of the change. A portion of stakeholders’ communication will be in direct response to the communication of implementers. In the case where implementers seek input, stakeholders will need to determine how they will respond. As we discussed in Chapter 2, there are many dimensions to this activity. Individuals will need to decide how candid to be with implementers – especially if their views are critical of the change. They will need to decide if they care to share their input in private or within hearing of their colleagues, co‐workers, and fellow stakeholders. Views that may be perceived as resistant or as overly compliant can give rise to negative reactions from other stakeholders. For example, anticipation of negative reactions may cause individuals to conceal their honest concerns. Surabhi Sahay (2017) argues that employees invited to provide input during change may respond with silence, upward distortion, and/or concealment. Some also choose to exit an organization rather than reply to input solicitation. Even for those input providers who decide to provide candid input to implementers, they may strategically design those messages in ways that are most likely to have intended impact on the implementers and others who hear them. Providing “facts” as opposed to “emotions” or data rather than personal anecdotes are some examples of content choices that input providers will make as they attempt to manage impressions and accomplish persuasive goals. We should not assume that all stakeholders necessarily want to encourage widespread participatory practices any more than will some implementers. In fact, some stakeholder groups may perceive that their stakes are best met by having a more dominant role in the change initiative and be less willing to consider an adaptive approach to implementation than are implementers themselves. Such stakeholders may question why some stakeholder groups or individuals even have a “seat at the table.” They may be interested in forestalling lengthy discussions or creative sessions that generate alternative versions of how the change might be installed. Part of a stakeholder’s hesitancy to engage in more empowered participation by multiple stakeholders might concern the delay that such practices often bring to decision‐making. Also, by involving more voices and engaging in more information assessment and knowledge creation, the odds of a favored existing alternative winning out diminishes. A stakeholder who has an early strong preference may argue against a widespread empowerment strategy if that preference has already been embraced by implementers. It is also important to remember that stakeholders’ communication is not merely aimed at influencing the decisions and opinions of implementers. Much of their interaction and persuasive attempts will be aimed at potential allies among other stakeholders including those who are undecided or opposed. Stakeholders who do not have the “definitive” status (recall in Chapter 3 Mitchell et al.’s designation of stakeholders who are seen as urgent, legitimate, and powerful) likely to garner implementers’ attention, will often need partners to be able to influence the direction of change efforts. And, even where influence attempts directed at implementers fail, lobbying key stakeholders could alter the on‐the‐ground reality of the change process regardless of the official stance of implementers. Employees can drag their feet; advocacy groups can protest and call attention to organizational practices; customers and clients can ignore new policies; and professional associations can denounce new practices. All of which can ultimately forestall a change initiative or alter outcomes. Thus, stakeholders will aim dissemination of information about the change, its costs and consequences, likely success or failure, and implications for individual groups of stakeholders, at many potential audiences. They will also likely invite the input of outside experts and experienced individuals, and may convene formal or informal sessions among interested stakeholders to discuss and formulate opinions about the change. The Spellings case (see Case Box 5.1) is a good example of how stakeholders mobilized to find many different ways to engage one another, as well as target some communication towards the would‐be implementers of change (the Spellings Commissioners). Sidedness A second dimension of communication strategy (see Table 5.2) concerns the degree to which communicators’ messages focus on their own viewpoint or discuss a balanced perspective on the change. Persuasion researchers refer to this as “sidedness” (Allen 1991; O’Keefe 1993): A one‐sided message simply presents arguments supporting the advocated position A two‐sided message presents supporting arguments, and also discusses opposing arguments. A further distinction involves whether the two‐sided messages are “refutational” or “non‐refutational.” Refutational messages not only refer to the opposing arguments, they also make a case against them. Non‐refutational messages merely mention the opposing arguments. The relative effectiveness of one‐ and two‐sided messages in altering a receiver’s attitudes has been studied in health campaigns (e.g. persuading the public to get breast cancer screening or quit smoking), and political and marketing contexts. The general conclusion of this research is that two‐sided refutational messages are most persuasive (Chebat et al. 2001; Crowley and Hoyer 1994). Research suggests that two‐sided messages are likely to increase the perceived credibility and trustworthiness of the communicator. Other research has shown that these sorts of messages work most effectively when the audience is highly involved with regard to the object of persuasion (the topic is one they find salient and relevant) (Chebat and Picard 1985), and for audiences who are initially negatively inclined (Pratt 2004). Persuasion research also suggests that two‐sided refutational messages can be used to “inoculate” a receiver to future counter‐arguments. Inoculation is used here in a metaphorical sense: … just as a biological vaccination confers resistance to viruses by injecting a weakened version of the viral agent into the body, triggering the production of antibodies that later protect against stronger viral attacks, an attitudinal inoculation treatment subjects people to a counterattitudinal message (i.e., a weakened attack) with refutations, motivating attitude bolstering prior to a stronger persuasive attack, thereby conferring resistance. (Compton and Pfau 2009, p. 11) To make inoculation work, the message must contain threat, counter‐arguments, and refutations. The “threat” concerns calling attention to vulnerability in an existing attitude (e.g. your current position has a potential weakness). The threat component motivates people to process the inoculation message content (i.e. the counter‐arguments and refutations). As we hear both the communicator’s arguments, and counter‐arguments against those claims, and refutations to the counter‐arguments, we are better prepared to face criticism of our adopted position in social contexts. Compton and Pfau (2005, 2009) suggest that inoculation treatments are consistent and effective in bolstering resistance to subsequent persuasive attempts in political, marketing, public relations, and health contexts. These authors also report a number of side benefits of inoculation messages, including that they tend to enhance perceived issue involvement and intent to talk to others about the target issue. Some research suggests that by equipping listeners with the arguments to fend off critics of a position, they make it more likely that such persons will be willing to engage those with a different point of view. In a study by Lin and Pfau (2007) on a hotly contested issue in Taiwan politics (the future relationship with the People’s Republic of China), they found that inoculated participants increased in confidence in their initial attitudes, were more likely to speak out on behalf of those attitudes, even with those who disagreed, and were more likely to resist the counter‐attitudinal persuasion of others. Compton and Pfau (2009) also discuss how inoculation can be spread through social networks. They argue that inoculation messages will promote involvement and word‐of‐mouth communication in audience members. Some have speculated that the “pass‐along” messages that these audience members share with others may be even more persuasive than the originals. Compton and Pfau argue that “talk as reassurance” (finding support for views through conversations within one’s social network), and “talk as advocacy” (proselytizing specific campaign information) can result in increased exposure of more people to the messages and influence subsequent behaviors. Essentially, this approach to persuasion suggests that fostering rumor mills, seeded with inoculations against counter‐arguments, is a potentially powerful persuasive communication strategy. That is very counter to usual advice given to implementers to squelch or control venting and rumor communication. The water‐cooler moments of venting don’t always occur face‐to‐face. In the Spellings case, stakeholders exchanged opinions and persuasive appeals in articles and response statements published in higher education outlets including Inside Higher Education and Chronicle of Higher Education. In the content analysis of the over 1 300 core articles and individual responses published over a two‐year period following the publication of the Spellings Report, 56% were coded as primarily supporting or primarily refuting or questioning the Report. Only 6.2% were coded as “balanced” (e.g. pointing to positive points on various “sides” of the issue). Although the study of these data did not explicitly code for “sidedness”, it does provide an indication of the tendency of these stakeholders to focus on presenting one side of the issue (even if some of the refutational messages may have been two‐sided). Examples of the responses to the articles published about the Spellings case (see Case Box 5.2) illustrate what one‐sided and two‐sided messages sound like. In the first two one‐sided messages, the stakeholders simply present their point of view on the idea of federally mandated standards of accountability in higher education. The third message acknowledges the difficulties in assessing outcomes (in his/her comparison to assessing pornography and note that implementation of standards will be difficult), but proceeds to support an argument that measurement is needed. Further, this two‐sided message provides a refutation of a counter‐argument in the second paragraph concerning the complexity of measuring learning outcomes. The persuasion evidence appears to support the strategy of two‐sided messages that have the benefits of boosting credibility and, if refutational arguments are included, of inoculating the audience to counter‐arguments of others. This logic would, of course, apply equally well to stakeholders as to implementers. For example, a stakeholder opposed to a change might inoculate her audience of other stakeholders against the refutations that implementers might make against her position. We have very little evidence of persuasive effects of sidedness or inoculation in organizational contexts. There are two exceptions to this. A study by Griffith and Northcraft (1996) found that “balanced” (two‐sided messages) about a new technology significantly affected the performance of new users in a positive direction. In an experimental study I conducted with Nicole Laster and Vaibhavi Kulkarni (Lewis, Laster, and Kulkarni 2013), we examined the reactions of 218 working professionals to memos announcing change. Some conditions received messages that highlighted negative aspects of the change and others were more positive in presenting the change. We sought to understand whether downplaying or highlighting negative information about the change or change process had an effect on perceptions of honesty and trustworthiness of implementers. We also sought to understand the impact of negative previews on initial favorability towards the change. The study’s results suggest that implementers’ credibility was not enhanced by the use of nonrefutational two‐sided messages. As we analyzed our data, we realized that complexity related to the context of the change, the expectations for implementers’ communication, and the level of perceived riskiness of the change (e.g. more routine program change vs. major organizational shift) will likely drive reactions to sidedness of messages. There is clearly much more work to be done in this area of message perception in the organizational context to fully explain message effects. Reluctance to Acknowledge Negatives Even if acknowledging and directly addressing the downsides to change are advisable, we know that organizational spokespersons are sometimes loath to admit to negative information about important initiatives. Evidence suggests that communicators often have distaste for delivering bad news or even previewing that a message contains bad news. This has been referred to as the mum effect. McGlone and Batchelor (2003) argue that reference to a negative object can be a threat to face for the recipient and the communicator. That is, as a communicator delivering bad news I might look bad, and by avoiding delivery of bad news (or putting it softly) I might improve my self‐presentation by appearing more humane. They argue that substitution of a euphemism is a common indirect communication strategy to avoid or mitigate face threats. So, one might say “I have to use the restroom” instead of a more vulgar description of the actual need one has. In a change context, a manager might avoid the term “lay‐offs” and replace it with “reduction of headcount,” “off‐boarding,” or “reengineering” (see Highlight Box 5.3 for more examples). In fact, Smeltzer’s study (1991) of change announcements found that euphemisms like “rightsizing,” and “enhanced voluntary severance” were often used when discussing layoffs and that employees reacted negatively to euphemisms and to overly positive announcements. They also found that managers’ euphemistic terms were frequently the target of employee jokes. McGlone and Batchelor’s study found that when subjects’ identities were concealed from recipients of messages, they were more likely to deliver more polite euphemistic language when they were told they would later meet receivers of the messages than when they were led to believe no such face‐to‐face meeting would take place. This result suggests communicators’ concern for their own face was the motivator for using euphemism. This is ironic when considered in light of Smeltzer’s study that suggests that negative reaction and ridicule are sometimes the result of the use of euphemism. Implementers’ concerns with their own self‐presentation (face) may result in the delivery of euphemistic or ambiguous change messages that disguise unpleasant news or ignore discussion of potential risks or downsides of change programs. Equivocal communication, commonly referred to as “double‐speak,” uses language strategically to give an appearance of responsiveness that if truly delivered in a clear, direct manner would create negative repercussions (Bavelas et al. 1990). Thus a manager might find a way to deflect or ignore questions raised about a potential negative of a change program (e.g. “the situation is evolving and we are gathering more information,” “overall, our organization is very healthy,” “of course we are keeping everyone’s best interests in the forefront of our planning”). In an interesting study by Susan Kline and colleagues, communication professionals were asked to rate a number of messages that were given by hypothetical organizational spokespersons during a crisis. Kline and colleagues expected that equivocal messages would be deemed more appropriate for use in crises with avoidance‐avoidance goal conflicts. “Avoidance‐avoidance goal conflicts arise when the message options available to respond to a question have multiple negative outcomes in relation to one’s aims, yet a reply must be made” (Kline, Simunich, and Weber 2009, p. 44). The professionals in the study found the equivocal messages delivered in these circumstances to be appropriate and linked to higher levels of corporate reputation. They also found that judgments of the appropriateness of equivocal messages were related to assessments that goals of multiple stakeholders were being addressed in the messages. We have reason to believe that perceived deception or incompleteness in provided information can be detrimental to the credibility of implementers and also can endanger the success of the change program (Schweiger and DeNisi 1991). If equivocal messages are used, they must be delivered with skill to avoid these negative outcomes. And, even if such messages can be successful from the perspective of the sender, ethical considerations should be made that might militate against their use. Gain or Loss Frame The third strategic communication dimension (see Table 5.2) concerns whether the persuasive message is framed in terms of gains or losses. A gain frame emphasizes the advantages of compliance with the persuader’s message. A loss frame emphasizes the disadvantages of noncompliance. For example, an implementer can stress that if stakeholders are cooperative and able to make a change program successful, they will help position the company to earn greater market share and the possibility of significant raises for employees will be greater. On the other hand, a loss‐framed message might suggest that unless employees cooperate with the change initiative, the possibility of a significant loss of market share might mean layoffs or even the closing of the organization. It is possible that a message might contain one or both types of appeals. Bartunek et al. (2006) argue that recipients of change programs often “gauge organizational change in terms of their own perceived or anticipated gains or losses from it, the extent to which change makes the quality of some aspect of their work or work life better or not” (p. 188). This would suggest that communicators who wish to persuade would want to consider the appropriate emphasis of potential gains and losses associated with a change effort and with rejection or failure of the change effort. In general, research has suggested that people are more willing to take a risk to avoid (or minimize) losses than to obtain gains (O’Keefe and Jensen 2006). Further, evidence suggests that negative information is particularly powerful compared with parallel positive information (Kellermann 1984). However, O’Keefe and Jensen’s analysis of the research on gain‐ and loss‐framed appeals concludes that loss‐framed appeals are not generally more persuasive than gain‐framed appeals. Researchers also have explored characteristics both of situations and of message receivers to see if these act as moderators of the effectiveness of gain‐ and loss‐framed messages. Broemer (2002) found that for individuals who were highly ambivalent (neither for nor against) at the outset, negatively framed messages (loss‐framed) were more persuasive. Level of perceived risk might also be a potentially important moderator of these effects. Some researchers have argued that in high‐risk situations (e.g. detection of a possible disease) people respond better to loss‐framed messages (e.g. if you don’t get tested, you could become seriously ill) (Rothman et al. 2006). It is unknown how stakeholders might perceive the concept of risk in organizational change situations. An organizational change might be presented as survival‐oriented. That is, if implementers warn convincingly that the change is necessary to keep the organization going, this may trigger a high‐risk scenario for many stakeholders. Other situations may trigger a high‐risk perception on the part of some stakeholders who think their personal stakes are threatened by the change (e.g. employees who fear layoffs; customers who fear service quality will decline; community members who are concerned about increases in pollution or congestion). Clearly, determining the relative appropriateness and effectiveness of these different message frames is complex in that it is likely contingent on source, context, message, and receiver characteristics. What is interesting for our present purposes is to consider, in the context of organizational change, both how different communicators may use these frames, and with what side effects, in addition to any persuasive advantage they may hold. Even if neither frame is generally more persuasive, there may be other consequences for the communicator who employs one or the other, particularly if a certain frame is used repeatedly. Consider, for example, the “chicken little” scenario where an implementer forwards a case for each of a subsequent set of changes in an organization based on the potential for great catastrophe if the change is not implemented successfully. If a “sky is falling” loss‐frame is adopted repeatedly by the same communicator, credibility of that communicator may wane over time. A similarly deleterious effect may arise from a “rose‐colored glasses” gain‐frame pattern where a communicator is always touting some new change as the next best thing since sliced bread. Generally, the message‐framing literature does not consider implications of the ongoing relationship between the persuader and audience, since the context of the research to date has been in many‐to‐one campaigns were the persuader was unknown or nonparticular (e.g. health campaigns, political advertisements). These message frames tend to be studied in experimental contexts where there is no existing prior relationship history between the communicator and his/her audience, or anticipation of a future relationship. In organizational contexts, especially where change is frequent and overlapping, we would expect to see numerous messages about change, often from the same people who are engaged in ongoing relationships. Further, the same individuals will be engaged with one another on a number of topics unrelated to change. How those messages form patterns and shed light on the credibility of the communicators may have larger explanatory power than the original form of the appeal (gain‐ or loss‐framed). In the Ingredients Inc. case (see Case Box 5.3) we see evidence of a gain frame in the presentation of the expectations for the merger. In the opening and final paragraphs of the memo, the organization’s leader suggests that the merger will “result in a more focused and competitive company” and that the result “is a focused organization with the ability to grow and prosper in a very competitive marketplace.” Clearly, the communicators designed the message to emphasize how success of this change would enable gains to be made. They did not emphasize potential losses from failure of the merger – despite rising statistics that suggest merger failure rates are quite high. Targeted or Blanket Messages In a fourth dimension of strategic communication choices (Table 5.2), communicators must decide whether their messages should be tailored (targeted) or more general (blanket). In a study (Lewis, Hamel, and Richardson 2001), my colleagues and I examined the different communication strategies employed by nonprofit change implementers. Blanket Strategies: General communication strategies that provide multiple stakeholders with similar communication messages and/or opportunities to interact Equal Dissemination approach aims to provide the same or nearly the same information across groups of stakeholders Equal Participation approach aims to give all stakeholders a chance to provide input to the change process. We found that two of the models (Equal Dissemination and Equal Participation) involved blanket strategies wherein the same message or communication style was adopted across all stakeholders. Implementers we interviewed often described the equal participation model as a burdensome process. Inviting opinion and input also meant that the implementer had to deal with all advice, suggestions, complaints, and disappointments when some had not been incorporated into final decisions. However, many implementers thought that this was a necessary step to ensure that the change would ultimately receive the support it needed. It was also possible through the use of this model for change programs to be dropped as a result: One curator described a long effort to promote a change in the landscape of the museum grounds that would have required a tremendous public relations effort and fund‐raising campaign to carry out successfully. After encountering resistance from the museum’s friends group and getting a no confidence vote from her immediate superior (who had previously shown support for the change), she decided to quietly “let the project die.” (Lewis et al. 2001, p. 21) The Lewis et al. (2001) study also identified three targeted models for communication that were employed by nonprofit change implementers in certain circumstances. Targeted Strategies: General communication strategies that attempt to segment stakeholder audiences and provide different messages, types of communication, or different levels of interaction with implementers. Quid Pro Quo approach that rewards specific individual or groups of stakeholders with enhanced communication attention in the case where their resources or endorsement of change are needed by implementers Marketing approach to communication where messages or communication opportunities are designed to especially appeal to specific individuals or groups of stakeholders’ interests, values, or orientations Need to Know approach that provides information tailored to the specific needs of different individual or groups of stakeholders. In the Marketing, Need to Know, and Quid Pro Quo models, distinctions among stakeholders were made either with regard to what messages were communicated or with regard to time and/or attention afforded. A senior vice president of a nonprofit provided an apt description of what we eventually labeled the Quid Pro Quo model, “There’s a pecking order with our communication. Whoever pays the most dues gets listened to the most. Just like in any business, your biggest vendor or supplier is going to have the most clout” (Lewis et al. 2001, p. 21). Essentially, implementers based decisions on what to talk about, how much to talk, and how early to communicate with stakeholders, on what they needed that stakeholder to provide to the change effort. The Marketing and Need to Know models were extensions of this idea in the sense that implementers attempt to provide stakeholders with information that they need or desire (Need to Know) and/or information in an explicitly tailored way (Marketing) to make it more likely to ignite the flow of resources and cooperation for the change. At times these models were invoked to prevent giving some stakeholders too much information. For example, one CEO suggested that he did not want board members to know enough detail that they might be tempted to micro‐manage the change effort, so their information was kept broad. One interviewee expressed the general philosophy of the marketing models this way: “All [stakeholders] take a different communication strategy. You couldn’t throw one message out and [have] it work for all the people you work with. They’re too diverse and come from too many different places” (Lewis et al. 2001, p. 25). Some scholars (Leonard‐Barton 1987; Leonard‐Barton and Kraus 1985) have suggested that change implementation is an “internal marketing campaign” and that change messages should be tailored. However, Smeltzer’s 1991 study of change announcements found that in only a few rare cases in their sample did management attempt to adapt the message to multiple audiences. They cite the example that an organization’s announcement that a 1% merit pool was available was not differentiated for those making $15 000 annually from those earning $100 000 annually. In a study in 1992, Smeltzer and Zener 1992 found that organizations did not differentiate between internal and external audiences in the announcement of layoffs. Contrastingly, Allen and Callouet (1994) explored the use of influence strategies targeted to different types of stakeholders in the context of organizational crisis management. Their findings suggest that organizations do adapt their communication strategies differently for different stakeholders and that they sometimes combine messages intended for one stakeholder group (e.g. regulators) with those meant for other audiences (e.g. media or community). Although it is potentially useful to tailor messages to certain stakeholder groups, it is somewhat silly to suggest that communicators in an organizational context can completely segment their audience. As we observed in Chapter 3, stakeholders have relationships with one another and so they likely share messages, information, evidence, and arguments with one another. Therefore, the strategy to target specific persuasive messages for specific stakeholders may not be well accomplished without acknowledgment of that reality. At a minimum, communicators must be aware that any potentially conflicting arguments or information they provide to different stakeholders could ultimately be discovered. Discrepancy and Efficacy In a fifth strategic communication dimension (Table 5.2), communicators weigh the degree to which they emphasize messages focused on suggesting the urgency to initiate change (discrepancy messages), and/or messages promoting the sense that the change goals can and will be accomplished (efficacy messages). Armenakis and colleagues (cf. Armenakis and Harris, 2002; Armenakis, Harris, and Field 1999; Armenakis, Harris, and Mossholder 1993) discuss the importance of discrepancy and self‐efficacy messages in examination of creating readiness for change. These authors argue that stakeholders need to believe that (i) change is needed, and (ii) the organization has the capability for successful change.1 Many researchers have documented the importance of stakeholders’ beliefs that change is needed (see Armenakis et al. 2007, for review). According to this perspective, messages targeting this goal need to result in a realistic rather than an exaggerated case in order to lead to stakeholders’ acceptance of change. The Spellings case provides an excellent example of a discrepancy message (see Case Box 5.4) wherein the Department of Education and the Spellings Commission warn of other nations “passing us by.” The danger of overdoing a discrepancy message is that it may be constructed by stakeholders in such a way that they end up feeling hopeless in recognition of a huge performance gap or competitive disadvantage. If the gap between where the organization is operating and where it needs to be operating is perceived as too huge, stakeholders may be demotivated to attempt to change things. Efficacy messages are used to help overcome the sense of hopelessness that discrepancy messages sometimes produce. These messages project a “can do” attitude and announce to stakeholders that obstacles can be overcome and even seemingly insurmountable odds can be conquered. Witness Barack Obama’s “Yes, we can!” message in light of a litany of social, military, economic, and environmental challenges that he devoted a great amount of time to in campaign speeches. Reger et al.’s (1994) work on reframing of organizational change argues that stakeholders tend to hold fairly rigid schemas about their organizations. A schema is a cognitive structure that represents what is known about some object including its attributes. We also may develop, or have introduced, an “ideal schema” – an image of what we want this organization to be. These authors call the difference between the actual organizational schema and the ideal organizational schema an identity gap. This is a very similar idea to the “performance gap” notion mentioned earlier. A narrow identity gap may be demotivating because stakeholders may perceive change as unnecessary or not worth the effort. A wide identity gap can be a source of organizational stress if the stakeholders perceive change as unattainable and that consequences of failure to change are severe. These authors suggest that there is a change acceptance zone wherein the motivation to change (perceived need) is high enough to create some stress; but the perception of potential success is also high enough to provide the impetus to try. With regards to efficacy messages in general, O’Keefe (2007) points out that in some circumstances such messages can have a deleterious effect on the audience in that they put the responsibility for results squarely on the shoulders of the message recipient. This can have the impact of creating negative side effects (e.g. in the health context it may lead to stigmatizing those with unhealthy conditions as being personally responsible for their circumstance), where guilt for lack of success or for the existence of the performance gap may result. Change communicators might be wise to consider both the ethical dilemmas associated with communication strategies that may give rise to stress and/or guilt and the potential side effects of invoking such emotion. For example, stakeholders who come to feel too negative in their role in an organization may decide that disassociation may be a better course than complying with the change effort. If you have been part of a failing organization for a number of years and a change agent is now trying to motivate new policies and practices based on that record of failure, you may feel enough guilt, embarrassment, or resentment that even in light of a compelling efficacy message may lead you to drop out rather than forge on to the new, better future. In other approaches to this dimension of communication strategy, some scholars have explored the role of expectations in change outcomes. For example, King’s study (1974) of managers’ expectations for the success or failure of change initiatives, revealed that higher expectations were related to higher productivity. Fairhurst’s study (1993) of vision of organizational change also demonstrated that daily interactions of stakeholders around vision and its meaning can be a very powerful determinant of change outcomes. Channels for Communicating Rogers (1995) defines a communication channel as “the means by which messages get from one individual to another” (Rogers 1995, p. 18). We may distinguish broadly between interpersonal and mediated channels. Interpersonal channels primarily involve face‐to‐face communication, and mediated channels make use of some form of mass media or technology. Although scant research has focused on the effectiveness of different channels for communicating during change, some theoretical and descriptive scholarship exists in the literature. Erik Timmerman (2003) has proposed a model of media choice over the lifetime of a change effort. As we noted in Chapter 2, Timmerman proposes that a set of source, organizational, media, message/task, receiver, and strategic factors will influence the choices of media that implementers use to disseminate information. Specifically, Timmerman argues: The action phase of implementation – where the decision to change is enacted – implementers are likely to communicate through one‐to‐many announcement methods that include meetings and are relatively efficient means to contact multiple recipients. The integration phase – wherein the change becomes stabilized into day‐to‐day routines – he proposes that “users” (stakeholders) will provide evaluation messages via informal media, including informal face‐to‐face discussions and group meetings. Timmerman further suggests that a preplanned, top‐down programmatic approach to implementation is likely to be associated with “official” media that emphasize one‐way communication. An adaptive approach that is more emergent and responsive to stakeholders as conditions and reactions are altered during the course of an implementation effort will involve the use of both formal and informal media, as well as channels that are more interactive and that will accommodate feedback about the implementation effort. In my own work (Lewis 1999), evidence from a study of 76 leaders of implementation efforts from a wide variety of organizations, suggests that popular channels for dissemination of information during change are small informal discussions, general informational meetings, and word of mouth (staff member to staff member). The most popular channels for soliciting input are also small informal discussions, followed by “checking in with line supervisors,” and “unsolicited complaints or praise.” In my analyses of these data I found implementers’ associated use of general informational meetings and their assessments of the success of the change. In a later study (Lewis 2006) of employees’ perceptions of use of channels and their assessments of success, I found that the most commonly used channels to receive information were “word of mouth (employee to employee)” followed by “small informal discussion.” The most frequently used channels for providing input were “talking with my supervisor,” and “participation in small informal discussions.” I also found that frequency of use of all the tested channels for both receiving information and providing input was unrelated to perceptions of success of change efforts. The study showed that value of employee input and clarity of vision for the change are predictive of success perceptions. Taken together, these results suggest that what is communicated is far more predictive than the channel or frequency of communication by channel. By and large we know very little about the prevalence or effectiveness of different channels used during communication about change, although some authors advocate heavily for some channels as more effective. Larkin and Larkin (1994), for example, argue, “above everything else communication should be about changing employees. And senior executive communication doesn’t do that – only communication between a supervisor and employees has the power to change the way employees act” (p. 87). Young and Post (1993), in their review of “exemplary companies” (identified by peer organizations), strongly endorse face‐to‐face communication. Fidler and Johnson (1984) set forth several propositions about the use of interpersonal and mediated channels for communication during planned change implementation. They propose that interpersonal channels are more suited to meet specific needs of organizational members in overcoming the risk and complexity associated with a change. However, when neither risk nor complexity is a major factor, mediated channels are proposed as more effective in providing general information. Conclusion In summary, this chapter has provided a description of important communicative approaches to implementation; dimensions of communicative strategies; and use of channels for communication. Much of this terrain is new in the change literature, and to some extent new to organizational communication in general. We have seen very little empirical or theoretical exploration of how change messaging or strategic approach to communication on the part of any stakeholder (including implementers) is more or less likely; more or less common; or more or less likely to be connected to other attempts on the parts of other communicators, among many questions. Although there is a rich tradition of study of persuasive messages within the communication and socio‐psychological disciplines, we really know relatively little of how these message strategies work within the unique contexts of organizations, and even more specifically, change processes. We know little of the impact of specific conditions of organizations wherein those who would be persuasive and those who are considered “audiences” know one another; have history; have anticipated future interaction; are bound by roles arranged within hierarchical structures; and have numerous material and spatial associations with one another (e.g. exchange labor for pay, share office space). Clearly this is an area ripe for future research. However, there is considerable evidence to suggest that the ways in which messages are designed and delivered are capable of influencing the sensemaking of stakeholders who participate in change communication. The ways in which stakeholders interpret messages and communication strategies of implementers and other stakeholders have a critical role in how they form beliefs, cognitions, emotions, and behavioral intentions regarding change initiatives. In Chapter 7 we will examine the organizational and institutional antecedents to these strategic communication choices on the part of both implementers and stakeholders. In Chapter 8 we will return to the effects of these strategic efforts on the interactions among stakeholders.
Memo: Model Leadership Behavior Overview Your efforts at finalizing the Change Management toolkit are appreciated by the vice president (VP) and management team of the U.S. branch of the Singaporean s
Running head: Change Readiness Audit 0 Change Readiness and Needs Assessment Audit for US, LLC Name MBA Dr. University Date Change Readiness and Needs Assessment Audit for US, LLC Executive Summary This report aims to carry out an improvement readiness or needs audit for a Singaporean software solutions vendor’s American branch. The United States branch experienced several issues, such as exhaustion and disengagement among workers, contradictory leadership signals, poor communication, and no training. The report will address concerns over the labor force’s and leadership’s preparedness for transformation, staff members’ trust in change management techniques, ways to improve change trust or readiness at the United States branch, and cultural factors that might have made it challenging for staff members to adapt to the standard operating procedures (SOP) of the Singaporean the primary office. Visual analysis of areas in need of change Appraisal, job-role stagnation, and promotion or recognition Apathy or disinterest regarding the vision, mission, and values of the organization [V Lack of trust in managers, especially senior leaders Impressions about the organization’s attitude to inclusion and diversity Justification of data points The selection of data Is due to the issues recognized in the scenario. Employee Confidence in change management practices Employee Confidence in company leadership Some information about workers’ confidence in strategies for managing change may be found in the Leaders’ Self-Evaluations and the Employee Engagement Survey. According to the survey results, workers have little confidence in the leadership team, which may indicate less faith in change management methods. The Leaders’ Self-Evaluations may reveal further details on the management team’s self-assurance in their capacity to manage the transition successfully. The urgency for change at employee and leadership levels The case’s challenges highlight how urgent change is at the management and staff levels. As an outcome of these problems, low morale among staff members may make it more difficult for the United States branch to effectively execute the CEO’s plan to continue expanding the market there. Middle managers must foster an adoption mindset to close the communication gap between senior executives and frontline employees. They can assist in conveying the vision, offering training, and ensuring uniform policies and procedures. However, the middle managers’ readiness to own the suggested adjustment is not yet apparent. Team leads role in creating a change mindset The middle managers can create an adoption mindset by creating a positive team atmosphere and being open, honest, and transparent. Managers as a bridge Managers could serve as a bridge between the senior leaders and the frontline staff by effectively communicating information from the above. Readiness to take ownership These leaders are ready to take ownership of the proposed change because they have surveyed to understand their employees. Leadership Impact on change readiness Rigid leadership styles and unequal power distribution may affect employee readiness for change because they cannot voice or contribute. Opportunities to increase change readiness Effective communication of the suggested modifications, transparency regarding the intended results and consequences for work roles, and employee involvement in the change process are all necessary to combat various forms of resistance. A climate of transparency and inclusiveness must be established where workers can voice their feelings and worries without fear of rejection or retaliation and resolve peer-focused dissent (International Labour Organization, 2022). Differences in change acceptance Due to variations in values, attitudes, and personality, certain staff members might be more adaptable to transitions than others. Reasons for resistance to change The Forms of Resistance Grid can be used to explain the typical causes of resistance to change. According to the Exit Interviews, peer-focused dissent and ambivalence are two types of opposition that can exist at the American branch. Staff might exhibit conflicted emotions or attitudes toward the suggested adjustments. This is known as ambivalence (Lewis, 2019). This might result from unclear communication or comprehension of the change, a fear of the unforeseen, or an absence of clarity regarding how the change would influence their job functions. The opposition workers might display peer-focused dissent because they think their coworkers or peers do not favor shift (Lewis, 2019). As a result, there might be an impression of social influence or peer pressure that makes workers resent the idea of changing to fit in with their coworkers. Cultural barriers to change Considering cultural dimensions and the Cultural analysis model Hofstede’s model of cultural dimensions draws attention to cultural factors that might have made it challenging for the staff of the United States branch to adapt to the Singaporean headquarters’ SOPs. The approach emphasizes the value of considering cultural factors in the circumstances of the American branch and the Singaporean office. How cultural difference impact change initiatives Change management discontent or failure might originate from inconsistencies, in particular, Hofstede’s model dimensions. How cultural differences impact communication and business practice The two aspects of power distance and individualism impact the discrepancies in commercial practices and cross-cultural communication between Singaporean and American workers. Singaporean society is collectivistic, whereas American culture is quite individualistic. According to the power distance dimension, the Singaporean headquarters’ staff might be more hierarchical, resulting in a leadership style distinct from the American culture. Conclusion The difficulties that can develop when using change management techniques in a cross-cultural setting are highlighted by this scenario. It can be challenging to implement change when employees mistrust the leadership team’s capacity to manage it, together with opposition to change and power struggles. The US branch needs to improve employee involvement in the change process and communication to promote staff readiness for change and trustworthiness. When implementing change management practices, it’s also critical to consider cultural aspects like power distance and individualism. Leaders must foster an open, welcoming workplace where employees feel free to express their thoughts and concerns. References International Labour Organization. (2022). Greater progress on diversity and inclusion essential to rebuild productive and resilient workplaces. International Labour Organization. Lewis, L. (2019). Organizational Change; Creating Change Through Strategic Communication, 2nd Edition. Wiley Blackwell.