Title

First steps: linking change communication to change receptivity

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Frahm, JA & Brown, KA 2007, 'First steps: linking change communication to change receptivity', Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 370-387.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09534810710740191

Abstract

Purpose

– Change receptivity is recognised as an important factor in successfully implementing organizational change strategies. The purpose of this paper is to examine the process of change in the initial stages of a change agenda within a public sector organization and analyze the communication of change. It traces the resultant receptivity to organizational change. The paper investigates whether organizational change communication is a crucial element in employees' receptivity to change.

Design/methodology/approach

– A case study design is employed and the multiple methods employed include surveys, focus groups, archival data and participant observation.

Findings

– The findings indicate that the initial change communication is problematic. The employees respond to a lack of instrumental change communication with a constructivist communication approach in order to manage the implications of continuous change.

Research limitations/implications

– This research provides an overview of the first 100 days of change in a public sector organization only, and so the limitations of single case studies apply. However, the close investigation of this phase provides further research directions to be addressed.

Practical implications

– The findings suggest managers need to align employees' expectations of the change communication with understanding of the change goal.

Originality/value

– The primary value of the paper is in using a communicative lens to study the change process.