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Communication, sensemaking and change as a chord of three strands: Practical implications and a research agenda for communicating organizational change

Mark van Vuuren (Department of Communication, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Wim J.L. Elving (Amsterdam School of Communications Research, Department of Communication, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 6 August 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to propose practical and theoretical consequences of emerging lines of thinking about communication during organizational change.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper suggests several benefits that a sensemaking approach may have in enhancing organizational success in general and the effectiveness of communicating change in particular.

Findings

It is suggested that the negative effects of a myopic view on information provision during change distracts from the importance of other communication activities. The fact that changes often fail to meet the expected goals can be partly attributed to the misbalance between information and communication. For practical purposes, it is suggested to stress the importance of energy in organizations and work meaning. Future research could benefit from a focus on framing. Three topics that relate to framing, i.e. conflicts, informal communication, and storytelling are suggested.

Practical implications

Suggestions for practice how to organize communication during organizational change and which topics to address are offered.

Originality/value

Several insights that emerge from new lines of thought in literature on organizational behaviour, organizational communication and change are used in this paper to give practical advise to change agents, and suggest directions for future research.

Keywords

Citation

van Vuuren, M. and Elving, W.J.L. (2008), "Communication, sensemaking and change as a chord of three strands: Practical implications and a research agenda for communicating organizational change", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 349-359. https://doi.org/10.1108/13563280810893706

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited