"Effective business communication is the lifeblood of every organization" (Murphy et al., 1997, p.4). It has been said that communication is the backbone of business, and those who possess such an ability to communicate effectively are those most likely to succeed in competitive business environments. But before this issue can be tackled, the term first must be defined: what exactly is communication? According to Robbins (2003), communication is the process of transferring and subsequently understanding meaning. A study by Updegraff (2003) proved that efficient communication exhibits properties which decrease conflicts, augment efficiency as well as allow firms to operate in a more coherent fashion. The 1970s have been seen as a decade in which communication was lacking (Wright, 2001) especially between labor unions and corporations, executives and employees, and different races. But today, we are overwhelmed with an abundance of information, once again making effective communication practically impossible. Thus businesses must strive to implement a proper communication culture within their organizational framework, as it is a vital component which will ensure proper functioning. It is evident that communication is fundamental in connection with any process in an organization. This is especially true in situations demanding organizational change. Any kind of change within an organization is usually followed by a deep resistance by employees as it is perceived as something inherently new and undefined. Employee resistance to change is one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with reform in a business. This paper will examine the correlation between communication and any form of change occurring in an organization. This paper argues that effective communication is the single most efficient tool organizations have in overcoming employee resistance to change during periods of transition. Formal Channels of Communication in Reducing Resistance to Change In order to facilitate the transition from one environment to another during periods of change, leaders must take the time to openly discuss the change and any matters relating to it with employees. The managers must ensure to outline all the aspects concerning the change, both the positive ones and the negative ones, which will make an impact on the working environment of the company. This is a crucial step in the communication process and is the first step which should be implemented: "…small communication - informal, face-to-face conversations between managers and their employees, is a far more powerful way of executing change than big communication - brochures, Web pages, e-mails…" (Larkin, 2005, p.4). Face-to-Face Communication
Since the change begins with the managers, these people must be there to council, support and guide their employees through such difficult transitional periods. Managers, and most notably leaders, must make themselves available to their workforce despite their numerous other responsibilities and daily tasks. A critical part in overcoming employee resistance to change is creating framework where the workers are able to express their concerns and opinions about the reform. A way in which this can be achieved, is to schedule meetings on a periodic basis (depending on the severity of the reform, these could be every three months to every week), in which employees and managers will come together and openly discuss the issues they are concerned with (Ackley, 1999). These meetings would most likely be comprised of the distribution of information regarding the progress of the change, followed by a question and answer session where employees have the opportunity to quiz their managers. Through this process, managers will show that they are as concerned about the change as their employees are. Studies prove that the trendiest means of persuading employees not to resist change is through group meetings and surveys (Anon, 2005). Based on such...
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