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Advice to Practitioners: A Review of the Popular Press Literature on Planned Change Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  Advice to Practitioners: A Review of the Popular Press Literature on Planned Change Communication Planned change is an increasingly familiar feature of organizational life. Organizations appear to be drawn, cult-like, to embracing constant change (Zorn, Christensen, & Cheney , 1999). Also, economic, technological, regulatory conditions are driving change in many organizations (Kotter & Schlesinger, 1979). The term planned organizational change is used here to describe change that is brought about through the purposeful efforts of organizational members as opposed to change that is due to environmental or uncontrollable forces (e.g., fire burns down plant, governmental shutdown of production). Types of planned changes in organizations include technologies, programs, policies, alterations of an organization’s physical characteristics, changes in staff and role assignments, and introduction of new processes. As change comes upon organizations or as organizations choose to introduce change they are faced with the task of implementation. Tornatzky and Johnson (1982) define implementation as: the translation of any tool or technique, process, or method of doing, from knowledge to practice. It encompasses that range of activities which take place between ‘adoption’ of a tool or technique (defined as a decision or intent to use the technology) and its stable incorporation into on-going organizational practice. (p. 193) As Zorn, Page, and Cheney (2000) point out, “two of the most popular ways of creating and communicating change are to emulate the ‘best practices’ of ‘excellent’ organizations and to be guided by the popular writings of management gurus” ( p. 516). Zorn et. al., argue that popular management books, articles and videos on the subject of change exist in a “symbiotic relationship with management discourse and practice” (p. 518) and that they reflect and influence management practices. As they further argue: Once a particular discourse has become established or fashionable, it helps to shape managers’ and workers’ assumptions about what constitutes effective practice, thereby providing an impetus for initiating changes and a ready-made logic for interpreting them . . . Simultaneously, managerialist discourse serves as a powerful rhetorical resource for

Authors: Lewis, Laurie., Stephens, Keri., Schmisseur, Amy. and Weir, Kathleen.
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Advice to Practitioners:
A Review of the Popular Press Literature on Planned Change Communication
Planned change is an increasingly familiar feature of organizational life. Organizations appear to
be drawn, cult-like, to embracing constant change (Zorn, Christensen, & Cheney , 1999). Also,
economic, technological, regulatory conditions are driving change in many organizations (Kotter &
Schlesinger, 1979). The term planned organizational change is used here to describe change that is
brought about through the purposeful efforts of organizational members as opposed to change that is due
to environmental or uncontrollable forces (e.g., fire burns down plant, governmental shutdown of
production). Types of planned changes in organizations include technologies, programs, policies,
alterations of an organization’s physical characteristics, changes in staff and role assignments, and
introduction of new processes. As change comes upon organizations or as organizations choose to
introduce change they are faced with the task of implementation. Tornatzky and Johnson (1982) define
implementation as:
the translation of any tool or technique, process, or method of doing, from knowledge to
practice. It encompasses that range of activities which take place between ‘adoption’ of a tool
or technique (defined as a decision or intent to use the technology) and its stable
incorporation into on-going organizational practice. (p. 193)
As Zorn, Page, and Cheney (2000) point out, “two of the most popular ways of creating and
communicating change are to emulate the ‘best practices’ of ‘excellent’ organizations and to be guided by
the popular writings of management gurus” ( p. 516). Zorn et. al., argue that popular management books,
articles and videos on the subject of change exist in a “symbiotic relationship with management discourse
and practice” (p. 518) and that they reflect and influence management practices. As they further argue:
Once a particular discourse has become established or fashionable, it helps to shape
managers’ and workers’ assumptions about what constitutes effective practice, thereby
providing an impetus for initiating changes and a ready-made logic for interpreting them
. . . Simultaneously, managerialist discourse serves as a powerful rhetorical resource for


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