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Advice to Practitioners: A Review of the Popular Press Literature on Planned Change Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  Advice to Practitioners - 17 Similar to the notion of critical mass, the theoretical premise underlying this theme is that by replicating change in one or two key areas, others will be more motivated to follow. One way of creating motivation for the change is to mark the achievement of those who have implemented the change successfully (Miller, 2002). On the contrary, Collins (2001) contends that “massive change efforts have no name, no tag line, launch event or program to signify what they were doing at the time” (p. 186). He further argues that individuals inside “great companies” often recognize the magnitude and success of their change in retrospect rather than as it is occurring. Communication Is Everything One of the more noticeable discrepancies in our analysis is whether communication is a significant aspect of the change process. Historically, the understanding has been the more communication, the better. Communication professionals contend that more communication is needed for change to occur. Frequently communicating a clear, compelling vision directs people to the goals and objectives of the change effort and can reduce unnecessary ambiguity surrounding change. Duck (1998) suggests that managers at every level make communication a priority and that their changes messages be consistent and constant. When faced with uncertainty, leaders need to communicate probabilities or else rumors are likely to be generated (Larkin & Larkin, 1994). Conversely, other professionals maintain that communication should not necessarily be a priority. Miller (2002), for instance, claims that “people are quick to label all sorts of organizational dysfunction as communication problems” when, in fact, the problems may very well lie in the system or structure (p. 5). Moreover, labeling such issues as communication problems further precludes managers from actually solving the problem (Miller, 2002). Communicative Tactics for Change Lewis and Seibold (1998) bemoaned the fact of little provision of specific tactics and action steps in the practitioner-oriented journal articles on planned change implementation. Our review of popular press books on the subject has revealed considerably more specific advice about how to proceed in change

Authors: Lewis, Laurie., Stephens, Keri., Schmisseur, Amy. and Weir, Kathleen.
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Advice to Practitioners - 17
Similar to the notion of critical mass, the theoretical premise underlying this theme is that by replicating
change in one or two key areas, others will be more motivated to follow. One way of creating motivation
for the change is to mark the achievement of those who have implemented the change successfully
(Miller, 2002). On the contrary, Collins (2001) contends that “massive change efforts have no name, no
tag line, launch event or program to signify what they were doing at the time” (p. 186). He further argues
that individuals inside “great companies” often recognize the magnitude and success of their change in
retrospect rather than as it is occurring.
Communication Is Everything
One of the more noticeable discrepancies in our analysis is whether communication is a significant
aspect of the change process. Historically, the understanding has been the more communication, the
better. Communication professionals contend that more communication is needed for change to occur.
Frequently communicating a clear, compelling vision directs people to the goals and objectives of the
change effort and can reduce unnecessary ambiguity surrounding change. Duck (1998) suggests that
managers at every level make communication a priority and that their changes messages be consistent and
constant. When faced with uncertainty, leaders need to communicate probabilities or else rumors are
likely to be generated (Larkin & Larkin, 1994). Conversely, other professionals maintain that
communication should not necessarily be a priority. Miller (2002), for instance, claims that “people are
quick to label all sorts of organizational dysfunction as communication problems” when, in fact, the
problems may very well lie in the system or structure (p. 5). Moreover, labeling such issues as
communication problems further precludes managers from actually solving the problem (Miller, 2002).
Communicative Tactics for Change
Lewis and Seibold (1998) bemoaned the fact of little provision of specific tactics and action steps
in the practitioner-oriented journal articles on planned change implementation. Our review of popular
press books on the subject has revealed considerably more specific advice about how to proceed in change


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