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Organizations require workers to connect them with the widening array of coworkers, consultants, and the shared knowledge bases. This connection is important during the process of change and/or when preparing for it. It is crucial to note that it is impossible to implement any change without clear and precise communication.
Indeed, communication encourages the development of a shared teamwork vision to minimize competition between workers. It contributes towards the development of knowledge learning and sharing culture, which is an important aspect for change and organizational continuity. This paper critically reviews an article by Smith Ian titled Achieving Readiness for Organizational Change with a particular focus on the theme of communication.
In the article, Achieving Readiness for Organizational Change, Ian (2005) discusses different roles that people play within organizations during a change process. His main purpose entails examining the significance of being equipped to welcome change, the strategy that people can adopt to implement a change, and the criteria that can be deployed to evaluate the change (Ian, 2005).
In its findings, the article considers the attainment of change and its sustainability incredibly important for any organization. However, the issue of the role of communicate comes in when Ian (2005) declares people the success factors or hindrances to effective change. They need to be prepared for the change to make it possible.
How can organizations achieve change preparedness? Ian (2005) responds to this question by claiming that people’s readiness for change can be achieved through creating the earnestness or requirement of change in them and ensuring that they feel and appreciate its meaning. This process involves releasing the status quo and creating an expressive stirrup in people.
The goal is to create dissatisfaction with the status quo so that people can begin looking for different ways of reducing such disappointment with the current situation or status. In this process, Ian (2005) reveals how the communication of change is incredibly important.
Irrespective of the change strategies that organization adopts, Ian (2005) posits that planting the seed of change in an organization requires the establishment of a shared vision. The shared vision may originate from one individual, probably a leader, an organization’s employee, or a group of employees. To ensure that all other people embrace the idea of change, its communication is important.
Ian (2005) supports this line of argument by adding that through active revelation of discrepancies that exist between the present situation and the envisioned state, it becomes possible to build motivation and the readiness for change. A potential criticism is that Ian (2005) does not provide information on how this end can be achieved.
However, he counters this gap by reckoning, “communicating the change messages and ensuring participation and involvement” (Ian, 2005, p.410) are the key factors to ensuring that people develop the desire for change. Consistent with Ian’s (2005) school of thought, communication links the plans that leaders develop to enhance the success of an organization and the actual implementation process.
Developing working strategies requires ardent communication at all hierarchical structures of an organization. Communication is vital since the implementation of new strategies often involves change (Williams & Seaman, 2001). Poor communication often results in the resistance to change, especially where the persons who work in an organization consider the change a threat to their jobs and personal excellence.
For instance, while personnel at the administrative centers may be fighting for the standardization of products that an organization produces to ease the supply chain and logistics challenges, employees at the departmental levels may be opposed to such an endeavor. This gap reveals why Ian (2005) says that people are either success factors or great hindrances to the change process.
Despite Ian’s (2005) substantive arguments on the necessity of communication during a change, he does not demonstrate it using a particular case on how communication can frustrate or enhance the change process. For example, Barrett (2006) says that inadequate communication at the intra-organizational levels may result in different perceptions of brands that are availed in the market.
This miscommunication minimizes the opportunities for channeling all organizational energies to the profitable brands. The emphasis on areas that are critical in pushing for the acceptance of brands in the market requires leaders to communicate effectively on the organization’s positioning and sales targets. Ian (2005) does not also explain who is supposed to communicate the desired change in an organization.
The change may involve a modification of workers’ attitude or the alteration of work processes in the effort to support an organization’s competitive advantage (Williams & Seaman, 2001). Effective leadership entails the communication of success strategies that touch on business objectives and goals (Barrett, 2006). Such communication should feature terms that employees can understand easily.
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In response, employees feel engaged and valued. Hence, they work collectively towards driving organizational success. In fact, many communication programs fail when they do not address precisely what employees, who are also the change implementers, need to know and/or do to enhance excellent organizational performance.
Ian (2005) should have considered leaders the communicators of the vision to the employees. Leaders who are capable of leading through change acknowledge the fact that communication can help to deliver tangible products. Issues such as improving consumer satisfaction, enhancing service delivery, and/or enhancing employee retention are all dependent on effective communication that the article addresses.
Barrett, J. (2006). Leadership Communication. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Ian, S. (2005). Achieving Readiness for Organizational Change. Library Management, 26(6/7), 408-412.
Williams, J., & Seaman, E. (2001). Predicting change in management accounting systems: National culture and industry effects. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 26(5), 443−460.