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Advice to Practitioners: A Review of the Popular Press Literature on Planned Change Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  Advice to Practitioners - 25 basic persuasive strategy for different contexts of change (e.g., change that is very controversial vs. change that is more routine and accepted)?, Who should be the spokespersons for change messages? When adopting a “sober selling” strategy what steps should one go through in creating effective messages? In soliciting input on vision, how much participation is desirable? How should one approach those who are resistant to participate? What are the warning signs that one has overcommunicated information to stakeholders? What is best balance between the amount of communication focused on dissemination of information and the amount devoted to input solicitation? Should all communication be two-way? What are guidelines for the length of a communication campaign? Is face-to-face communication still most effective when communication norms dictate electronic communication? What decision criteria should be used to select different communication strategies for different stakeholder groups? How do you execute good communication when working within a narrow time frame? In short, these books stuck us as extremely sloganesque in many cases when it came to specifying communicative strategies and advice. While occasionally pithy, and usually adamant, their advice lacked detail and appropriate qualification in many cases. Further, it lacked evidence. Few of the books we read offered more support for their advice than their own personal experience as consultants and practitioners, published reports by their own or other consulting companies, or well-celebrated case studies of large corporate change campaigns. Even when theoretical or rigorous scholarly evidence was presented, the contributions of the communication discipline were notably absent. Next steps for Communication Scholars The questions of practitioners we posed above are but a small list of many that we might generate out of this review. The work to be done here is formidable. It is also important work. Scholars of communication are well positioned to develop much more detailed advice than what is currently available to practitioners. Elaboration and testing theories of uncertainly reduction, persuasion, media use, employee involvement, identification, culture, and information use among others would benefit our

Authors: Lewis, Laurie., Stephens, Keri., Schmisseur, Amy. and Weir, Kathleen.
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Advice to Practitioners - 25
basic persuasive strategy for different contexts of change (e.g., change that is very controversial vs.
change that is more routine and accepted)?, Who should be the spokespersons for change messages?
When adopting a “sober selling” strategy what steps should one go through in creating effective
messages? In soliciting input on vision, how much participation is desirable? How should one approach
those who are resistant to participate? What are the warning signs that one has overcommunicated
information to stakeholders? What is best balance between the amount of communication focused on
dissemination of information and the amount devoted to input solicitation? Should all communication be
two-way? What are guidelines for the length of a communication campaign? Is face-to-face
communication still most effective when communication norms dictate electronic communication? What
decision criteria should be used to select different communication strategies for different stakeholder
groups? How do you execute good communication when working within a narrow time frame?
In short, these books stuck us as extremely sloganesque in many cases when it came to specifying
communicative strategies and advice. While occasionally pithy, and usually adamant, their advice lacked
detail and appropriate qualification in many cases. Further, it lacked evidence. Few of the books we read
offered more support for their advice than their own personal experience as consultants and practitioners,
published reports by their own or other consulting companies, or well-celebrated case studies of large
corporate change campaigns. Even when theoretical or rigorous scholarly evidence was presented, the
contributions of the communication discipline were notably absent.
Next steps for Communication Scholars
The questions of practitioners we posed above are but a small list of many that we might generate
out of this review. The work to be done here is formidable. It is also important work. Scholars of
communication are well positioned to develop much more detailed advice than what is currently available
to practitioners. Elaboration and testing theories of uncertainly reduction, persuasion, media use,
employee involvement, identification, culture, and information use among others would benefit our


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