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Surviving organizational change: how management communication helps balance mixed feelings

Paul Nelissen (Department of Communication, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Martine van Selm (Department of Social Science Research Methodology, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 6 August 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the correspondence between the use and evaluation of management communication on the one hand and positive and negative responses to a planned organizational change on the other hand.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was conducted among employees of a Dutch branch of a large international organization which had survived a recent planned organizational change. In a survey, respondents were asked to report on their opinions about the organizational change at the time of the study, and retrospectively report on their opinions about the organizational change at the introduction of the organizational change.

Findings

It was found that positive responses to the planned organizational change increased and negative responses decreased in the due course of the organizational change. In addition, survivors were ambivalent in their attitude towards the organizational change, as positive responses existed next to negative ones. With respect to the role of management communication it was found that satisfaction with management communication is most strongly related to responses to the organizational change as survivors who are satisfied with management communication score high on positive responses and low on negative responses.

Research limitations/implications

The study has methodological limitations as it employs a one point in time measurement.

Practical implications

This paper is a source for practitioners in the field of management communication as the results may guide them in focusing on maximizing employee satisfaction with management communication as this communication component is most strongly related to response to the organizational change.

Originality/value

This paper provides empirical evidence of the value of management communication for survivors of organizational change processes.

Keywords

Citation

Nelissen, P. and van Selm, M. (2008), "Surviving organizational change: how management communication helps balance mixed feelings", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 306-318. https://doi.org/10.1108/13563280810893670

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited