Case Study Report on Communicating Change

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Executive summary
This report analysis the strategy used by Television New Zealand (TVNZ) for managing and communicating its massive unplanned change of direction and employee layoff relating to Horizon Pacific Television Network. Research for this report included review of several communication literatures via UniSA e reader and web pages. The report finds that communication strategies used such as face-to-face communication channel, human resources assistance, withhold and uphold strategy positively impacted while the communication timing, bypassing line hierarchy directionality negatively impacted. It concludes that communicating change was not very successful due to some unsuitable communication strategies implemented. It is recommended that (1) Management should consider right message timing; (2) Company also should use more than one strategy (Crossman 2011, p. 399), for example, combine withhold and uphold with underscore and explore strategy; (3) An effective communication before and during the change and staff reduction (lay-off , downsizing) process is also necessary; (4) Should give authority and encourage stakeholders to participate in the change process such as evaluation and implementation (Lewis et al. 2006).

1. Introduction
Communication strategy plays a crucial role for communicating change effectively. Specifically, it is important for recognising the necessity for change, reduce uncertainty, etc (Hayes 2010). It reflects staff’s behaviours, morale, change acceptance. This report was to analyse the strategy used by Television New Zealand (TVNZ) for managing and communicating its change of direction and layoff in the event of axing Horizon Pacific Television Network and layoff one hundred and twenty staffs. Communication process and strategy TVNZ used such as communication channel, message timing, communication directionality, withhold and uphold strategy, human resource assistance and impact on the worker was being discussed to find out whether they were effective or not in managing the communication for organisational major change. 2. Analysis

1. Type of change
Replacing Horizontal Pacific Network with a Youth channel and laid off staff was a large-scale change (Lewis 2000) and unplanned change (Crossman 2011). The major change decision made promptly in order to cope with the increased competition- launching of TV4. As said by Crossman (2011) that change happens quickly due to the urgent need. 2. Communicating change

1. Communication channel

TVNZ communicated the change through face-to-face channel. This considered the best suitable way for the executives to explain the need for change to the network’s staffs and also would give immediate answer to questions raised. As said by Hayes (2010) that face-to-face channel enables management to deal with people’s concern effectively and dynamically and it is the most effective way to communicate when there is a need of immediate clarification. Crossman (2011, p. 402) views it is best way to communicate in difficult management problems. Changes involved staff cut was a challenge for TVNZ. Another benefit of this channel is that emotions can be interpreted otherwise it might be hidden (Klein 1996). 2. Communication timing

TVNZ’s board decision was announced to staffs after it was being broadcasted on TV3. Official announcement occurred one week after board’s decision. The withholding in communicating change to staffs gave opportunity for leaking of memorandum. Untimely communication caused rumours, angers, etc to their staffs. Crossman (2011, p.403) emphasises that message timing is one of the management’s considerations in order to lessen ‘rumour emergence’. Goodman & Trust (2004) suggested that “timing” is “one of the key points to consider in developing change communication strategies”. 3. Communication directionality

Allen et al. 2007 (Hayes 2010) viewed that top-down communication is difficult...
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