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Advice to Practitioners: A Review of the Popular Press Literature on Planned Change Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  Advice to Practitioners - 24 say much about the appropriate forum for various types of information dissemination (e.g., which mediums to use for supporting facts and figures vs. procedural changes vs. personal task and job information). Most of these authors seem to agree that both change and members’ resistance to change is inevitable and natural. Supposed causes of resistance identified in these books appear to be considered largely inherent to the individual and his or her attitudes, emotions, and perspectives on the change or the change process. Many of these books present resistance as an evil that, while understandable, needs to be eliminated. A few present an alternative view, that resistance is a potentially functional and rational response to change that may actually perform a useful service for implementers in keeping them honest and providing a devil’s advocate voice in the organization. There was also a strong recurring theme of empowerment and autonomy noted in these books. Leaders are encouraged to empower others and allow others to take ownership over the change process. Risk-taking and initiative seeking are characteristics that are often desirable during the change process. At the same time, leaders are widely encouraged to provide justification for the change and establish a clear and compelling vision for the change. Most would agree that articulating the goals and purpose of the change are necessary for seeking commitment to the change. Painting a broad picture of the change is necessary for people to find where they fit within that picture—it gives them a sense of control over an otherwise equivocal situation. Character of These Books Nearly all of these books, at one point or another, to one degree or another, acknowledge the critical importance of communication in change. However, they also tend to boil tactics for communication down to sound bites and general philosophy. Even where authors have created grids for use in planning communication strategies for various purposes, there seems to be scant detail in considering very basic problems that practitioners might have with communication. We wondered about several questions that practitioners might have that are not addressed by these books: What should be the

Authors: Lewis, Laurie., Stephens, Keri., Schmisseur, Amy. and Weir, Kathleen.
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Advice to Practitioners - 24
say much about the appropriate forum for various types of information dissemination (e.g., which
mediums to use for supporting facts and figures vs. procedural changes vs. personal task and job
information).
Most of these authors seem to agree that both change and members’ resistance to change is
inevitable and natural. Supposed causes of resistance identified in these books appear to be considered
largely inherent to the individual and his or her attitudes, emotions, and perspectives on the change or the
change process. Many of these books present resistance as an evil that, while understandable, needs to be
eliminated. A few present an alternative view, that resistance is a potentially functional and rational
response to change that may actually perform a useful service for implementers in keeping them honest
and providing a devil’s advocate voice in the organization.
There was also a strong recurring theme of empowerment and autonomy noted in these books.
Leaders are encouraged to empower others and allow others to take ownership over the change process.
Risk-taking and initiative seeking are characteristics that are often desirable during the change process. At
the same time, leaders are widely encouraged to provide justification for the change and establish a clear
and compelling vision for the change. Most would agree that articulating the goals and purpose of the
change are necessary for seeking commitment to the change. Painting a broad picture of the change is
necessary for people to find where they fit within that picture—it gives them a sense of control over an
otherwise equivocal situation.
Character of These Books
Nearly all of these books, at one point or another, to one degree or another, acknowledge the
critical importance of communication in change. However, they also tend to boil tactics for
communication down to sound bites and general philosophy. Even where authors have created grids for
use in planning communication strategies for various purposes, there seems to be scant detail in
considering very basic problems that practitioners might have with communication. We wondered about
several questions that practitioners might have that are not addressed by these books: What should be the


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