Imparting the change message

Involving employees in change processes


"The only thing constant in life is change”. This famous line was first published in the 16th century by François de la Rochefoucauld, but can be applied to organisations just as well today. All organisations change constantly, because of changing markets or expansion to new markets, customer demands, new technology, environmental considerations, corporate social responsibility, mergers and acquisitions, etc. Unfortunately more than two-third of these changes fail to achieve the goals which have been formulated at the start. Organising and communication are inextricably linked. Studying change communication gave us a possibility to study internal communication processes at the heart of the functioning of the organisation. Communication is seen as the spinal cord of organisations, and could facilitate organisational change in achieving its goals. What possibilities do communication managers have, what can they achieve? This paper initially seeks the definition of a successful change, then will endeavour into the way a change project can be handled and present insights from research conducted over the last years on the contribution of information and communication to organisational change.

Wim J.L. Elving

Wim J.L. Elving is assistant professor in corporate communication at the University of Amsterdam and member of the Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR). He is also special visiting professor at IE University, Madrid, Spain. He was editor in chief of Corporate Communications, an international journal, for 10 years.