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Advice to Practitioners: A Review of the Popular Press Literature on Planned Change Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  Advice to Practitioners - 23 themes regarding the specific behaviors and communication of change implementers emerged, as well as the specific recommendations and behaviors that are offered with respect to change implementation. Findings and Contributions Our analysis revealed both areas of agreement and disagreement for how practitioners view change implementation and the principles they recommend for successful change. Although most of the books reviewed suggest that change is inevitable and necessary, some suggested that change is potentially harmful and that organizations are best not to change simply for the sake of changing. One widely held piece of advice in implementing planned change was the need to have all levels of the organization participate in the change process. Specifically, there seemed to be a strong focus on including various stakeholders in the planning and implementation phases. The rationale behind such advice appears to be that the more people feel included in the process, the more committed they are likely to be to the change effort, the more willing they will be to seeing the change through to the end. Participation offers people some measure of control that they might otherwise not have in the midst of uncertainty and change. Although, while this premise is often acknowledged, there is little detailed prescriptions in these books as to how to execute a full participatory plan. Some books describe individual techniques (Large Group Interaction Methods) and make multiple suggestions for other possible channels (newsletters, group meetings, one-on-one sessions, use of line supervisors) but the bottom line advice sounds something like “figure out how to do this, but make sure it gets done.” In addition to promoting wide participation in change communication, these books also tended to advocate for wide dissemination of information. None of these authors suggested deception or withholding of information and several directly addressed the negative consequences of such behavior on the part of implementers. The general spirit of the advice appears to underscore openness with information, wide dispersal of information, early notification, and discussion of just about any topic that any stakeholder wishes to raise. These books do not address issues of handling confidential or proprietary information, appropriate detail in information dissemination to different stakeholder groups, nor do they

Authors: Lewis, Laurie., Stephens, Keri., Schmisseur, Amy. and Weir, Kathleen.
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Advice to Practitioners - 23
themes regarding the specific behaviors and communication of change implementers emerged, as well as
the specific recommendations and behaviors that are offered with respect to change implementation.
Findings and Contributions
Our analysis revealed both areas of agreement and disagreement for how practitioners view
change implementation and the principles they recommend for successful change. Although most of the
books reviewed suggest that change is inevitable and necessary, some suggested that change is potentially
harmful and that organizations are best not to change simply for the sake of changing.
One widely held piece of advice in implementing planned change was the need to have all levels
of the organization participate in the change process. Specifically, there seemed to be a strong focus on
including various stakeholders in the planning and implementation phases. The rationale behind such
advice appears to be that the more people feel included in the process, the more committed they are likely
to be to the change effort, the more willing they will be to seeing the change through to the end.
Participation offers people some measure of control that they might otherwise not have in the midst of
uncertainty and change. Although, while this premise is often acknowledged, there is little detailed
prescriptions in these books as to how to execute a full participatory plan. Some books describe
individual techniques (Large Group Interaction Methods) and make multiple suggestions for other
possible channels (newsletters, group meetings, one-on-one sessions, use of line supervisors) but the
bottom line advice sounds something like “figure out how to do this, but make sure it gets done.”
In addition to promoting wide participation in change communication, these books also tended to
advocate for wide dissemination of information. None of these authors suggested deception or
withholding of information and several directly addressed the negative consequences of such behavior on
the part of implementers. The general spirit of the advice appears to underscore openness with
information, wide dispersal of information, early notification, and discussion of just about any topic that
any stakeholder wishes to raise. These books do not address issues of handling confidential or proprietary
information, appropriate detail in information dissemination to different stakeholder groups, nor do they


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