Research concerning the processes of information exchange, message development and instrument choice during planned organizational change has grown exponentially over the past several years. What is missing from this literature is the notion that each stakeholder and stakeholder group can interpret a different meaning to the same communication message which consequently impacts their orientation toward the change. It is this point of individual interpretation that we choose to highlight in the current paper by looking at a case study of management’s implementation of Progressive Discipline in a large beverage distributor. To conduct this case study the authors used semi-structured interviews which provide a clear picture of the case as understood by each employee. With an examination of a real-world work problem, this paper builds a bridge between the academic and business environment. It does so by providing a simple explanation for understanding the internalization of changes within an organization. The study also extends the organizational change research to include Social Identity Theory and context as a means to explain the differences of interpretation of the same communication messages by different employees. Our intention is to equip managers with the knowledge that one’s social identity impacts how change is viewed—its success or failure. By considering that stakeholder identity plays a role in how change is perceived, communication can be designed to deliver the appropriate and effective messages. Managers armed with this information will be more prepared for organizational change.
|Keywords:||Organizational Change, Social Identity, Communication, Context|
Instructor, Department of Communication, The University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, USA
Assistant Professor, Department of Media, Communications, and Visual Arts, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY, USA