Communicating Organizational Change: Information Technology Meets the Carbon-Based Employee Unit

Change is a constant reality in today’s workplace, causing substantial psychological stress within a workforce concerned about its livelihood and quality of life. Against this backdrop enters the Information Technology (IT) explosion, bringing its unprecedented capacity for disseminating information. Many managers are embracing e-mail, intranets, and other technological innovations as efficient solutions to the high communication demands during times of change. However, simply making information available is not the same as communication. People under stress can lose as much as 80 percent of their ability to process information. Situations in which concerns are high and trust is low, call for as much attention to the methods of communicating as to the messages. This article offers insights into why human resources need more low-tech communication during times of change. The research on risk communication provides non-traditional and sometimes counter-intuitive principles for avoiding some familiar pitfalls to effective internal communications.

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Written by Joseph G. Wojtecki, Jr., and Richard G. Peters as published in The 2000 Annual. Consulting. San Francisco, CA. Jossery-Bass/Pfeiffer.  2000; Volume 2; 175-190.