Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Management

School

School of Business

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Law

First Advisor

Associate Professor Llandis Barratt-Pugh

Abstract

Managing change is of critical importance in organisations. Communication during the change process has been the subject of considerable and highly contested academic and managerial debate. In this study, The Impact of Participative Communication on Organisational Cultural Change: Two Local Government Cases of Change, communication during the change process was closely examined to see how, if at all, participative processes impact upon the adoption of change. As a result of this research a ‘Ladder of Employee Participation in Change Management’ was developed, to better understand the nature of participative communication and provide clarity for change practitioners who develop change communication plans.

This study asked the question: ‘How does participative communication impact on change management receptiveness?’ It looked at the type and style of communication deployed during change, how it was disseminated, how it impacted on employees, and the overall effectiveness of the change management strategy. The study drew on Public Relations constructs of dialogical, two-way symmetrical communication, as well as participative decision-making processes, and analysed data obtained from two change management case studies in the local government sector. A mixed-methods approach was used for collecting data by means of interviews and a culture-assessment tool.

This research adds to existing knowledge by providing a clearer understanding of the nature of participative communication during the change management process. The ‘Ladder of Employee Participation in Change Management’ will be of particular interest to change practitioners, who will find it a valuable tool for developing communication plans that align with change processes and enable dissemination of unified messages across the entire organisation.

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